Roger Severino

Roger Severino on Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Conscience Rights in a Divided America

Wesley J. Smith
Roger Severino
Audio File (85.52M)

It is no secret that our country is badly divided and riven by profound moral, religious, and political differences about what constitutes the good, the best means of promoting human flourishing, and even the proper meaning of the term, “civil rights.” The question thus becomes: How do we maintain mutual respect and comity, and retain sufficient cohesion to be considered a true society?

Wesley’s guest, Roger Severino, is deeply involved in working through these questions from conservative policy and legal perspectives. Severino is a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he directs EPPC’s HHS Accountability He is a national authority on civil rights, conscience and religious freedom, the administrative state, and information privacy, particularly as applied to health care law and policy. He is a regular contributor to National Review Online.

Before joining EPPC, Severino was the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OCR), where he led a team of over 250 staff enforcing our nation’s civil rights, conscience and religious freedom, and health information privacy laws. He served from 2017 to 2021 and was the longest serving OCR Director of the past three decades.   

Prior to joining HHS, Severino served for two years as Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, advocating for life, family, and religious-freedom policies. Before that, he was a trial attorney for seven years at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division where he enforced the Fair Housing Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Severino holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a master’s degree in public policy, with highest distinction, from Carnegie Mellon University, and a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Southern California.

Severino has been profiled in The New York TimesThe AtlanticThe Wall Street Journal, and The Hill and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and PBS, among others. In 2020 The New York Times dubbed him and his wife Carrie, “a conservative power couple” to be reckoned with.

Roger Severino (@RogerSeverino_) / Twitter

HHS Accountability Project – Ethics & Public Policy Center (

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