The Catholic University of America

Robert A. Destro, J.D.

IPR Director
Email: Destro[at]
Phone: (202) 319-5202
Department: Columbus School of Law

Robert A. Destro was appointed director of the Institute in June 2017.  He is a Professor of Law in the School of Law at The Catholic University of America, and is the director and founder of the Interdisciplinary Program in Law & Religion. He joined the faculty in 1982, and served as Interim Dean from 1999-2001. From 1983 to 1989, he served as a commissioner on the United States Commission on Civil Rights, and led the commission's discussions in the areas of discrimination on the basis of disability, national origin and religion. He served as general counsel to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights from 1977 to 1982, and as an adjunct associate professor of law at Marquette University from 1978-1982. From 1975 to 1977, he was engaged in the private practice of law with the law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dean Destro was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. He received his bachelor of arts degree in 1972 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and his law degree (J.D.) in 1975 from the University of California at Berkeley. His areas of specialization, scholarship and litigation include: freedom of speech and religion; discrimination on the basis of race, disability, national origin and religion; comparative constitutional law; private international law (conflict of laws); legal ethics; and bioethics. He is the co-author, with Michael S. Ariens, of Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Society (Carolina Academic Press, 2nd edition 2002), the leading law school textbook in the United States on the subject of religious liberty.