Law & Liberty

The Library of Law and Liberty focuses on the content, status, and development of law in the context of republican and limited government and the ways in which liberty and law mutually reinforce each other.

Law & Liberty brings together serious debate, commentary, essays, blog posts, podcast episodes, book reviews, interviews, and educational material in a commitment to the first principles of law in a free society. Law & Liberty considers a range of foundational and contemporary legal issues, legal philosophy, and pedagogy.

Blog

The blog features timely commentary by John McGinnis, Mike Rappaport, and James Rogers, and a host of other contributors on constitutional, legal, and policy issues.

Forum

The forum is a platform for the discussion of the legal and philosophical principles that inform and govern a free government and a free people. Recognizing that there is no shortage of online venues for evaluating legal questions, the forum's distinction rests in its examination of the basic principles of a constitutional republican order and its focus on the elements of freedom that must exist in a society dedicated to liberty and responsibility. The forum aims to uncover the genesis of central legal ideas that produced our unique heritage of Western liberty but are now misunderstood due to ideological confusion.

Every month, the forum will present an essay on a major topic by a leading thinker. This first essay’s ideas will then be considered and tested by two other participants in each exchange. The ideas discussed and debated in this space are not the sole preserve of experts, however. The hope is that each topic, and the ideas animating and surrounding it, will emerge into full view for the reader, permitting a new and refined understanding of the ideas discussed. These ideas are open to all: They are the personal and collective wisdom of any society devoted to the noblest ideas of the Western legal and political philosophical tradition.

Podcast

The podcast features interviews with leading academics and writers on new books, articles, and contemporary subjects.

Book Reviews

This section contains reviews of significant new books in law, history, policy, and politics.

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Recent Posts

Here are the 10 latest posts from Law & Liberty.

Law & Liberty September 22, 2017

Justice Scalia and How Originalism Fits into the Fabric of the Law

In my last post, I explored whether Justice Scalia was an old or a new originalist, concluding that he was a new originalist in one way, but an old originalist in another way.  In this post, I want to

Law & Liberty September 22, 2017

A Sturdier Side to the Seventies

For many people, the 1970s were a time when things began to fall apart—the era of Jimmy Carter, earth tones, the oil embargo, drugs. Yet as a new book reveals, “the Me Decade” was also, at least in certain safe

Law & Liberty September 21, 2017

Can the Sugary Beverage Tax!

I live in Cook County—one of the worst governed jurisdictions in the United States.   To close a budget deficit it has passed a law imposing a tax of one penny an ounce on drinks that added either sugar or artificial

Law & Liberty September 21, 2017

Democrats Are Gifting the Median Voter to Republicans

The party in control of the presidency typically loses seats in the House and Senate in midterm elections. Since Jimmy Carter, the presidential party has on average lost just over 20 seats in the House and just under four seats

Law & Liberty September 21, 2017

Liu Xiaobo’s Fight for Freedom

It was the Czech writer Milan Kundera who said: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” His fellow writer Liu Xiaobo, who died this summer under police guard while serving an 11-year prison sentence,

Law & Liberty September 20, 2017

Liquidation and the Problem of Constitutional Settlement

Gordon Lloyd and Steve Ealy make a compelling case for liquidation, what they call “Originalism for the Living Generation,” as the most Madisonian means of settling constitutional meaning. Grounded as it is in Madisonian text and example, from The Federalist …

Law & Liberty September 20, 2017

Ken Burns’ Vietnam

Journalists often claim to write the first draft of history, but that statement raises the question when a story turns from current events into history.  The Vietnam War now stands closer to World War II than 2017.  A formative experience

Law & Liberty September 19, 2017

Extend the Sphere of Identity Politics

Our identity politics could use some Madisonian wisdom.

In an earlier post, I argued that our current legal regime, which has created protected and non-protected classes of Americans, is one important source of our current political alignment and a

Law & Liberty September 18, 2017

Karl Polanyi’s Irrelevance to Today’s Policy Debates

The increase in globalization over the last couple of decades, and the Great Recession, has spurred interest and attention in Karl Polanyi’s book, The Great Transformation. Republished in 2001 (and in 1957), scholars such as Nobel Prize winning economist

Law & Liberty September 18, 2017

Was Justice Scalia an Old Originalist?

One of the standard distinctions these days is between the old originalism and new originalism.  While different people define the distinction a little bit differently, I define the old originalism as having two essential characteristics: using “original intent” to determine