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Domino’s Pizza mogul creating Catholic law school

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DETROIT -- Former Domino's Pizza mogul Tom Monaghan will spend $50 million to create a new law school meant to produce lawyers who will consider the moral consequences of the law from a Roman Catholic point of view.

"I think it will be the West Point for Catholic laity in the years to come," said Monaghan, who recently sold Domino's Pizza for $1 billion.The Ave Maria School of Law is to open in fall 2000 in Ann Arbor with about 40 students. Robert Bork, one-time nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, has signed on as the first professor of the new college.

Bernard Dobranski, dean of Catholic University's law school in Washington and former dean at the University of Detroit's Mercy School of Law, will be Ave Maria's dean.

The emphasis will be on law and what the Catholic Church sees as moral truths. Ave Maria graduates will be taught to incorporate this philosophy in their legal decisions. The school will teach from the Catholic intellectual tradition, which includes criticism of abortion and the right-to-die movement, backers say.

"The rule of law must be founded in a belief that there is an objective, moral order," Dobranski told the Detroit Free Press.

"This is something no law school does effectively," he said. There are 24 Catholic law schools in the country, including Detroit Mercy.

The school will be on the same Ann Arbor campus where the Ave Maria Institute is located.