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Notre Dame Law professor dies at 58

| Monday, May 20, 2019

John Copeland Nagle, the John N. Matthews Professor of Law, died Saturday, Notre Dame announced in a press release. His passing came after “surgery and a brief illness,” the release said.

According to the release, Nagle taught at Notre Dame for 21 years, serving as “an expert on the legislative and regulatory process, environmental and property law, China and the law, and the intersection of religion and the law.” He was also the first associate dean for faculty research at the Law School.

“John has been a major figure in the Law School as a brilliant scholar, much-loved teacher and mentor, and indispensable colleague,” Notre Dame Law School dean Nell Jessup Newton said in the release. “We will all miss him dearly.”

Nagle received degrees from Indiana University and the University of Michigan Law School, the release said. He was also a two-time Fulbright Foreign Scholarship recipient once in 2002 and again in 2008, using the grants as a means of teaching law in Beijing and Hong Kong, respectively.  Before becoming a member of the University’s faculty, Nagle taught at the Seton Hall University School of Law and served in several roles at the United States Department of Justice, working in the Office of Legal Counsel and then as an environmental trial attorney.

A published author, Nagle’s work explored a variety of topics related to the law, including the intersection of Christianity and environmental law.

”Nagle co-wrote casebooks ‘The Practice and Policy of Environmental Law,’ ‘Property Law’ and ‘The Law of Biodiversity and Ecosystem’ and wrote  the book ‘Law’s Environment: How the Law Shapes the Places We Live.’ His current book projects explored the role of humility and Christian teaching in environmental law and the centrality of scenic values in national parks,” the release said. “Nagle’s articles in popular publications criticized upgrading the Indiana Dunes to a national park, unpacked the Grand Canyon’s political path to becoming a national park and explored ‘What We Don’t Want a President to Do.’”

Nagle also loved photography and the outdoors, the release said. Every year, one of the raffle prizes at the Law School’s annual Father Mike Variety Show was a canoe trip with Nagle on the St. Joseph River.

Nagle served in a variety of other roles in his life, ranging from legal committees and religious organizations — including the New City Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Section on Legislation of the American Association of Law Schools and “the Endangered Species Committee of the American Bar Association’s environmental section,” amongst others.

Funeral arrangements are pending, according to the release.

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