– The Law and Astrology
The laws astrologers object to include bonding requirements of up to $10,000, business license fees that range from $300 per year to as much as $100 per day, and even total prohibitions on the practice of astrology for a fee. Labeled “fortune-telling,” and lumped in with all manner of archaic “occult arts” and metaphysical practices — as well as the complete pantheon of New Age philosophies — astrological practice is restricted by many cities in most states in this “Land of the Free.”
Lead by AFAN’s Legal Information Committee, activist practitioners of the stellar science have racked up an amazing, unbroken string of victories from California to Florida. AFAN is engaged in conversations or confrontations with city councils, state legislatures, and courts from Washington to Florida and New York to California.
The California Supreme Court overturned, as an unconstitutional infringement of free speech, an Azusa, California, ordinance that completely banned “fortune-telling.” (1) (Spiritual Psychic Science Church of Truth, Inc., et. al. v City of Azusa L.A. 31926). The Court held that astrologers and “fortune-tellers” have the same constitutionally protected right to express and charge for their opinions as other mainstream forecasters.
The Omnibus Counseling Act, which would regulate social workers and therapists in Washington State, was stopped in the state senate — for three years in a row — by astrologers dissatisfied by its potential restrictions on their profession. The bill finally passed when unconstitutional provisions restricting astrology and other counter-culture approaches to well-being were deleted from the bill. Threatened by lawsuits filed in Federal District Courts, cities in Georgia and Florida have redrafted their ordinances regulating astrology to allow astrologers to obtain business licenses for the modest fees required of other professions. A $6 million law suit has been filed against the City of Yonkers and New York State by AFAN astrologers arrested at a “psychic fair.” Battle Creek, MI, is being sued after halting mini-readings at a local restaurant. Michigan repealed its ban on “fortunetelling” and New Jersey refused to enact one after AFAN’s efforts. Los Angeles County refused its Sheriff’s request to reenact an ordinance banning occult arts after AFAN lobbied the Board of Supervisors and presented its case in public hearings. Concord, in Northern California, in response to AFAN’s orchestrated public presentation and after reading the AFAN attorney’s un-filed brief, redefined “fortunetelling” so that only those who “purport to influence future events” (which no reputable astrologer does), need apply for a fortune-telling permit. AFAN raised the defense fund for an astrologer arrested in San Jose, California, and during her trial Networkers gave testimony on astrology’s major influence on Western Civilization. Testimony by an astrologer helped win a Federal court victory for a tarot card reader charged under an ordinance that also banned astrology. (2) (Stergo v. City of Highland Heights).
“Fortunetelling” ordinances usually include astrology in a 20-30 item list of proscribed or restricted practices that contains every method of prognostication or character reading from augury to necromancy, and from clairvoyance to witchcraft. The laws often include psychology and hypnotism and the “furnishing of any information not otherwise obtainable by the ordinary process of knowledge.” The catchall phrase “or any similar business or art” is appended to the list to include anything esoteric with which the drafters of the ordinance were unfamiliar. They may not know what “fortunetelling” is, but they know they don’t like it.
Most city ordinances are “void for vagueness.” They do not define the proscribed practices so that a reasonable person would know what was prohibited or if they were in violation of the law. Almost everyone is surprised and many are dismayed to learn that astrology and related arts, so much a part of popular culture, are illegal. By lumping together numerous related and unrelated practices under the name “fortunetelling” these same laws are fatally flawed because they are “overbroad.” Thus, they are relatively easy to overturn in higher courts — once considerable time and money are invested to bring the case to trial and then, often, to appeal.
AFAN’s astrologers have generally preferred the quicker and less expensive route to revision — that of lobbying city and county governments by writing letters, meeting with representatives in private, and making public presentations. They confer with police officers, city attorneys, and city councils, dispelling stereotypes and fear of the unknown. When persuasion fails, the astrologers resort to the court system.
Law enforcement officers and many elected officials cling to the stereotype that astrologers are “gypsies,” vagabonds and con artists. Although this is unacceptable it is understandable, because the police deal primarily with the criminal element; their experience of “astrologers” is limited to the small fraction of the con-artists who guise themselves in pretensions of “fortunetelling.” They are unaware that most astrologers are ordinary people: taxpaying, property-owning, voting, citizens who are often positively active in their communities.
Anti-astrology laws are predicated on the false assumptions that, without exception, “the business of fortune telling is inherently fraudulent” so that “its regulation or prohibition is required in order to protect the gullible, superstitious and unwary.”(3) (in re Bartha (1976) 63 cal. App.3d 584)
The above argument, (which has been frequently cited), was discredited by both the Appellate Court and the Supreme Court in California in the Azusa case. In Azusa, a minister of the church sued the city to block enforcement of their “fortunetelling” ordinance — a total ban on all metaphysical practices. The city won in Superior Court, based on the above Bartha precedent, but lost at the next two levels, where the Justices could overturn incorrectly established precedent and rule newly, and strictly on Constitutional issues.
The Appellate Court overturned the Azusa City ordinance and discredited the above assumptions based on Article I, section 2 of the California Constitution, which states: “Every person may freely speak, write or publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press.”
The appellate judges added, consequently, “one need not have a scientific basis for a belief in order to have a constitutional right to utter speech based on that belief.” Not only does the broader California Constitution protect astrology but, in addition, the judges found, “the telling of fortunes and prophesying about the future to be a category of speech protected by the United States Constitution.” (4)
The City of Azusa then appealed the case to the California Supreme Court, asking for either a review (hoping to overturn the appellate ruling), or a retrial on the facts (including the merits of fortunetelling), and lost again. The California Supreme Court ruled that astrology is not “inherently fraudulent” nor “mere commercial speech” but rather, “protected speech” — as fully protected by the Constitution as any other idea.
The Supreme Court majority held that “some persons believe they possess the power to predict what has not yet come to pass. When such persons impart their belief to others, they are not acting fraudulently; they are expressing opinions which, however dubious, are unquestionably protected by the Constitution.”
“It must also be noted that there are many persons other than professional fortunetellers who purport to predict the future; e.g., astrology columnists in daily newspapers, economists who prognosticate interest rates and other business conditions, investment counselors who forecast stock market trends, sportswriters and odds makers who predict winners of athletic contests, horse race handicappers, pollsters who forecast election returns, and clergymen who describe the concept of a hereafter.” Astrologers have the same rights and responsibilities as other persons and professions who arrive at their opinions and predict the future by more mundane means.
“Under the First Amendment there is no such thing as a false idea,” the California Supreme Court said. “However pernicious an opinion may seem, we depend for its correction not on the conscience of judges and juries but on the competition of other ideas.” The Court did not rule on the validity or the value of astrology, nor separate it from other metaphysical philosophies or occult arts. It leaves those tasks to the marketplace of ideas, and the test of time and events. It is not the Court’s job to judge ideas, but to protect them. Under the First Amendment all ideas are created equal.
In so ruling, the Court — throughout its decision — cited Federal precedent: cases which were decided based on the protections guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, they added a footnote at the beginning of their decision stating that their frequent use of the term First Amendment was “merely illustrative” and that the ruling was based on the California Constitution.
With Azusa, the Supreme Court has established a new specific precedent regarding metaphysically-based speech. It’s ruling has become a “controlling decision” in California. Both the state and local governments, and lower courts in California are bound by its ruling. The decision is “persuasive” in other jurisdictions. Courts and governments outside California are not bound by it, but they will be influenced by its arguments, and they are bound by the same Federal cases cited in Azusa. Since the Court’s cogent arguments are so persuasive in the intellectual sense as well as the legal one, and since the decision cites federal precedent, we can rely on other state courts’ ruling in accordance with the decision in the Azusa case. To emphasize this point we next recount both the arguments presented to the Court and its response to them.
In disputing arguments from the cities of Azusa and Los Angeles (which filed an amicus curiae, or friend of the court brief), the Court responded to the arguments and ruled as described below. These same arguments, counter-arguments, and rulings will certainly be used in subsequent cases; even though the arguments attempting to limit the constitutional rights of astrologers have been thoroughly repudiated.
The cities argued, quoting from the Bartha ruling, that “fortunetelling” “for a fee” is strictly a commercial enterprise. The Court rejected this and held that “fortunetelling” is protected speech not “mere commercial activity.” “It involves the communication of a message directly from the fortune-teller to the recipient. That words are used is not critical; the key is that the words convey thoughts opinions and, sometimes, fiction and falsehoods.”
The cities also argued that restricting the various arts only when they were practiced for a fee was not undue restraint. The Court declared that argument, and the ordinance, void because, “…[I]t is manifest that speech does not lose its protected character when it is engaged in for profit. (5) ‘It should be remembered that the pamphlets of Thomas Paine were not distributed free of charge… Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion are available to all, not merely to those who can pay their own way.’”(6)
When the cities claimed that the First Amendment was originally meant to apply solely to political discussion and that expressions of opinion about the future were not important or relevant discussion, the Court replied: “It is impossible to say that fortunetellers impart no political message in their communications. In their vision of the future there may be a view of society as they perceive it may one day be. Such communication conceivably could contain the spark of a political flame. Secondly, fortune-telling may fire the imagination and stimulate discussion of the future.” As is clear from precedent, the Court continued, “… [T]he life of the imagination and the intellect is of comparable import to the presentation of the political process; the First Amendment … protects in addition the interest in free interchange of ideas and impressions for their own sake, for whatever benefit the individuals may gain.” (7)
Responding to the Azusa City Attorney’s implication that there existed a consensus of disdain for “fortune-telling” among rational, intelligent persons, the Court stated: “That some — even a majority — may find this mode of communication distasteful, ridiculous or corrupt is irrelevant to constitutional concerns. Thus any prohibition or regulation of fortunetelling must be given full scrutiny under the Constitution.” The First Amendment was specifically designed to protect unpopular ideas, and ideas that are favored by one segment of the population and not another.
NOTE: The national media, in November 1994, reported on a nationwide survey that found 47% of people believe in astrology and that it “has some scientific validity.”
The cities contended that fortunetelling falls into a category of speech (falsehoods) that is not entitled to free speech protection by quoting Bartha: “It is within the police power of the municipality and province of the legislative body to determine that the business of fortunetelling is inherently deceptive. …[A]nd when as here the legislative body has done so, the speech is not protected.”(3)
The Court apparently bristled at that suggestion, stating, “First it must be emphasized that the ordinary deference a court owes to any legislative action vanishes when constitutionally protected rights are threatened. Thus we would abandon our constitutional duty if we took at face value the municipality’s determination that fortunetelling is inherently deceptive and not protected.”
There have been no “findings of fact” before any governmental body or court, above the Municipal Court level, as to the validity or accuracy of “fortune-telling,” or the ability and sincerity of fortune-tellers. These questions belong not in law or government, but in the branch of philosophy known as epistemology. Epistemology is the study of the nature, origins and limits of knowledge. It asks: What is knowledge? How do we know? How do we know that we know? What is knowable and what is unknowable? Which is truth and which is opinion? Epistemology deals with the continuing question “What are the ‘ordinary processes of knowledge’?” in a profound way that the legislature and the judiciary cannot, and may not, preempt.
The amicus curiae AFAN prepared for Azusa stated: City of Azusa presents as fact its a priori assumption that the future cannot be forecast, and therefore attempts to do so are “inherently fraudulent.” City of Los Angeles [thereby] raises questions as to the validity of knowledge and the means of apprehending truth and opinion. City of Los Angeles states its opinion (assuming ‘everyone’ shares it) as if it were a fact, that the proscribed practices are “totally unreliable methods” of learning. This has not been, and cannot be, determined in a court of law. As the Appellate court demonstrated “… scientists at major universities, as well as philosophers, are actively engaged in the question of can we learn through more than the five physical senses.”(4) If those experts whose careers are dedicated to discovering the limits of the human mind are undecided, how can the City… hope to decide the issue by either decree or trial testimony? Retrial would air the opinions of “experts” on matters of opinion about which there can only be opinions. As Mortimer J. Adler states, “Reasonable men can agree wherever knowledge is possible, but there are many matters about which even reasonable men can only entertain opinions.” (see appendix)
As long as competent investigators in the field disagree, as they do, on what constitutes evidence, and as long as opinion and philosophical prejudice masquerade as fact, as long as men and women continue to ask questions about the nature of reality and of knowledge — as long as there is philosophy — the efficacy of fortunetelling is an open question that neither the courts nor municipalities are at liberty to decide.
Astrology is the philosophy that postulates a relationship between relevant celestial phenomena and/or processes and certain terrestrial affairs. Astrology fits perfectly within the (Encyclopaedia Britannica) definition of philosophy: “The efforts of man to reflect deeply in a rational, methodical, and systematic way upon those aspects of experience that are of the greatest concern to man.”
The Court recognized implicitly, that, “Philosophical systems are never definitively proven false; they are simply discarded or put aside for future use… [as] a continuing source of philosophical inspiration and suggestiveness to those who philosophize in any succeeding age.”(8)
The Supreme Court re-affirmed the decree that: “under the First Amendment there is no such thing as a false idea.” (9) The Appellate Court also ruled that “One need not have a scientific basis for a belief in order to have a constitutional right to utter speech based on that belief; belief may be so absurd as to be unworthy of scientific investigation, yet be an appropriate subject of constitutionally protected speech.” (4)
These rulings echo the sentiments of the eminent American philosopher William James. In Will to Believe, (1897) he said, in effect that “Men have the right to believe even in the face of inconclusive evidence and that, since knowledge is an instrument for the sake of life, the true test of a belief is the practical consequences that it entails.”(8) Astrology has withstood this test by people from all walks of life, and in every culture, throughout, and even prior to, recorded history. After food, sex and politics, astrology is mankind’s oldest fascination.
In Azusa, the California Supreme Court quoted: “Predictions of the future have been characterized as expressions of opinion, not actionable unless the speaker knows the opinion is unwarranted or induces reliance on the opinion as if it were an expression of fact.”(10) The Court then stated: “It must be conceded that many persons practicing the ‘art’ of fortunetelling are engaging in fraudulent activity. Many fortunetellers have no belief in their powers to predict the future. If such persons obtain consideration for their services, the activity could be deemed fraudulent; their statements would be false statements of fact, for they are not expressing what they truly believe will happen in the future.”
Statistically, the number, or percentage, of fraudulent “fortune-tellers,” is unknown, and we must assume it is quite low. In 1974, California recorded — statewide — less than two dozen cases of fraudulent fortunetelling, and the state no longer keeps an accounting of these few offenses.
What is obvious, given the large number of practicing astrologers, psychics and metaphysicians (and their membership in professional associations) is that, as the Court continues, “… it is also true that some persons believe they possess the power to predict what has not yet come to pass. When such persons impart their beliefs to others, they are not acting fraudulently; they are communicating opinions which, however dubious, are unquestionably protected by the Constitution.” (1) It should also be obvious that the opinions of many professional astrologers are not so dubious, given the positive results their clients increasingly recount, as reported in numerous newspapers such as the highly reputable The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and others
It is important to note that the Uniform Criminal Code does not criminalize astrology. There are no Federal statutes that restrict astrology. The only known mention of astrology in Federal documents is in the Department of Labor’s Dictionary of Occupational Titles:
ASTROLOGER: Prepares and analyzes horoscopes to advise clients regarding future trends and events: prepares horoscopes by computing the positions of planets, their relationship to each other and the zodiacal signs, based on factors, such as time and place subject was born. Analyzes horoscope to advise clients, such as person or company, regarding conditions which lie ahead, course of action to follow, and probability of success or failure of that action.
It is not so obvious to many that many astrologers simply do not predict. Whether they consider they can or not, they prefer not to. In their professional practices, many astrologers emphasize counseling regarding inherent qualities and tendencies and current conditions, to the exclusion of actual prediction.
In spite of assuming that occult fraud was a more pervasive problem than it is, the California Supreme Court cited the United States Supreme Court ruling: “precision of regulation must be the touchstone in an area so closely touching our most precious freedoms.(11) Regulation ‘Whether aimed at fraud or other abuses, must not trespass upon the domain set apart for free speech and assembly.’ (12) Regulation is suspect, therefore, if it prohibits protected expression, even though it guards the public from fraud.”
Putting protection of the First Amendment (where it belongs) above making easier the jobs of legislatures, city councils, and police departments, the Court ruled “‘Mere legislative preference for one rather than another means of combating substantive evils’ is not sufficient to justify an overbroad ordinance. It is irrelevant that punishing fraud may be less convenient than prohibiting all situations in which a potential fraud exists.”
The Oregon Appellate court in Marks v. City of Roseburg (13) held similarly that, “Laws must focus on proscribing the pursuit or accomplishment of forbidden results rather than on the suppression of speech or writing either as an end in itself or as the means to some other legislative end.”
In summation, the California Supreme Court in Azusa stated that the state statute prohibiting fraudulent fortunetelling (Penal Code section 332) was valid and sufficient to protect the public interest. “Thus there are methods to prevent fraudulent fortunetelling that would impose less drastic restriction on protected speech. Any marginal interest the City may have in a more complete and convenient regulation in this area by a total ban on fortunetelling for compensation is outweighed by the interest in free and open speech on all subjects.”
“Therefore the (Azusa) ordinance fails both the least drastic means test and the balancing of interests tests. Before us now is an enactment that is invalid in its essence.”
No city in California can ban astrology, or the related and unrelated metaphysical practices with which it was previously outlawed. Equally, cities cannot unduly restrict or overly regulate any metaphysically based speech about character or about the future. Cities in all other states will soon have to deal with the same question of whether and how to regulate “fortune-telling.” They will in the process have to consider the California Supreme Courts persuasive arguments, and the extensive list of controlling federal precedents cited in Azusa. What can cities do? Here are some of the options many cities have tried prior and subsequent to astrology’s liberation, and the problems with each of them:
Business License Fees of up to $100 per day:
This is clearly an attempt to enact a de facto ban on esoteric practices. It is impermissible because it violates the Fourteenth Amendments equal protection clause; it is “differential taxation.” Fees must be the same for similar businesses, judged on conduct, not content. This attempt is manifestly an impermissible “content-based restriction” of Free Speech.
Creating a special classification such as “Occult Arts” or requiring only “Fortune-tellers” to undergo fingerprinting, mug shots, or police background checks and submit to complex and time-consuming hearings also violates the equal protection clause. Astrologers and other metaphysical consultants must be fairly classed with mundane consultants, such as analysts, attorneys, clergy, counsellors, and brokers, i.e., by nature of business rather than content of speech
By creating “white-light districts” to concentrate occultists, (in industrial areas?! or just off the main streets) or mandating a certain separation from each other and from churches and schools, the cities are in violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Zoning attempts would fail to meet the standard of serving a “compelling state interest”.
Many cities have resorted to requiring “fortune-tellers” to post a surety bond “to ensure fair dealing” with the public. This amounts to prior restraint, i.e., punishment before the crime, or in effect, paying the fine before the conviction, which is clearly impermissible under the U.S. Constitution.
Additionally, almost all bonding companies refuse to issue these bonds, either saying they recognize the legal and practical flaws inherent in these ill-conceived ordinances, or implying that they accept the “gypsy fortuneteller” stereotype that astrologers and the like are “inherently fraudulent” and not good risks for bonds. Requiring a surety bond when none can be purchased, for whatever reason, amounts to instituting a de facto ban on the practice.
Two California cities, El Cerrito and San Pablo, blatantly attempted to circumvent the Court’s intention by using bonding requirements to enact a de facto ban. When El Cerrito City Council members were informed that surety bonds were both unavailable and of questionable legality, they attempted to bypass the issue by requiring a personal bond that could be paid in cash to the city, and in an amount greater than a legitimate bond would cost — even if it were available. These proposed ordinances were void for a variety of reasons.
Atlanta, Georgia, requires astrologers to pass a professional-level certification examination before acquiring a business license. Atlanta has a City Board of Astrological Examiners that writes its own exam for astrology, which may be permissible.
Requiring that practitioners meet the competency standards established by the profession as a whole may be permissible. However, such regulation must not restrict competition nor bar entry into the profession. Cities must make allowances (in zoning requirements as well) for the normal process of business development and career change which is to begin a part-time practice from one’s home before becoming a full-time practitioner.
Some cities require “fortune-tellers” to register their fee schedule with the police department, and to inform officials of any proposed changes in fees before they occur. Practitioners must also post both their fees and consumer protection notices, e.g.: “This business is prohibited by law from requesting fees above those posted for specific services.” This unequally taints a lawful and law-abiding profession.
Fortunetellers are also prohibited from accepting any property or thing of value in addition to or in lieu of fees, and from asking that such be transferred into the “safekeeping” of another. This is a gray area the courts have not directly dealt with. There may be a reasonable basis for this departure from “equal protection.” These regulations may amount to prior restraint and may also constitute undue governmental interference in business practices. However, if they directly address activities that have frequently lead to fraud, they may be construed as permissible regulation. (see below)
AFAN recommends that cities follow-in-full the spirit of the Azusa decision, and the United States Constitution. This means that they issue business licenses to astrologers under the same standards and fees that apply to other consultants and prognosticators. This should be done under a generic heading such as “consultant” or “alternative counselor” and not under a pejorative title like “fortune-teller.” Many cities have done exactly this, and have experienced no increase in fortune-telling related fraud.
Since some cities may actually have an existing problem with, or a reasonable basis to anticipate extensive problems with, fraudulent fortunetelling, special solutions may need to be developed or applied due to extenuating circumstances. This must be done with great care and with a demonstration of legislative intent to allow, and safeguard, constitutionally protected speech. A unique solution was developed in Concord, California. In response to the Appellate Court ruling re Azusa, and in anticipation that the California Supreme Court would uphold it, Concord repealed its archaic ordinance and eventually enacted in its place a model law that gives the public additional protection from fraudulent “fortune-telling” while permitting legitimate metaphysical forecasters to operate without undue restriction.
AFAN opposed the original redraft of the Concord ordinance, and voiced its objections in a city council hearing. Following AFAN’s standard procedure in these matters, local citizens and activists from nearby communities testified as to astrology’s historic role in society, its acceptance and use in everyday life, and the upstanding nature of the vast majority of amateur and professional astrologers.
AFAN’s attorney then asserted that “serious constitutional questions” were raised by the proposed ordinance. He asked for, and was granted, time to prepare a formal legal brief, which was to be submitted to the city, rather than filed in court, so the parties could negotiate an equitable solution to the problem.
Several weeks of conferring with AFAN Legal Information Committee members and the attorney led to the unique solution of redefining “fortune-telling.” Now, in Concord, the protected act of speaking about the future is not regulated. However, the questionable practice of making claims to be able to change the future for another by means of occult powers or metaphysical practices, while not banned, is regulated. The present ordinance directly addresses practices that either are fraudulent or directly lead to defrauding the public. Persons who “purport to influence future events” must undergo a police investigation and post a bond before obtaining a “fortune-tellers” permit, which requires the posting of fees and notices as described above. Because this ordinance is carefully drafted and narrowly targeted to practices rather than speech, it could withstand a challenge based on California or U.S. Constitutional issues.
AFAN offers the Concord ordinance as a model of effective legislation that protects the rights of the public while respecting the rights of astrologers and metaphysicians. AFAN and its core of dedicated activists stand ready to work diligently for justice for astrologers and respect for astrology anywhere, anytime, and likewise to work to protect the public from fraud and incompetence in astrology. AFAN’s activist Networkers and several committees (most notably, Legal Information, Education and Professional Development, Media Watch, and Coordinators) are committed to these ends.
There are experienced LIC members around the country ready to contribute their know-how to protect their colleagues’ rights to believe in astrology and to freely express their opinions about the future based on the stellar philosophy. For legal information support, legislative action advice, and referral to local committee members, contact the Legal Information Committee at email@example.com.
You may also contact any member of AFAN’s Steering Committee or AFAN’s Regional and Local Coordinators or Voice Mail: 1-800-578-AFAN.
Additional copies of “The Law and Astrology” in printed format are available from the LIC for $5. (payable to AFAN) AFAN’s legal action and lobbying guide: “What To Do In A Legal Crisis” will be included at no additional cost.
AFAN produces and distributes a comprehensive Legal Information – Legislative Action Kit (LI/LAK). This document is the primary tool Networkers have used to win AFAN’s legal and legislative victories. It contains good, bad, and mediocre ordinances, the relevant case law, selected briefs, sample letters, and the legal action and lobbying guide: “What To Do In A Legal Crisis.” The LI/LAK is available for $25 (payable to AFAN)
(used generally in the preparation of this paper and specifically in AFAN’s amicus curiae in re Azusa)
Julius Stone, “Western Philosophy of Law,” The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1979.
The Great Books of the Western World, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1952 (with the University of Chicago) and specifically:
Robert Maynard Hutchins, “The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education”
Mortimer J. Adler, The Great Ideas: A Syntopicon of the Great Books of the Western World
Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison, The Federalist
Thomas Jefferson and various others, The American State Papers
William James, “The Will to Believe,” “The Sentiment of Rationality,” “Pragmatism,” Gateway to the Great Books, Vols. 7 & 10, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1963 Revised: November 26, 1994