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The Classical Liberal Constitution

Author: Richard A. Epstein
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674727800
Size: 42.77 MB
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American liberals and conservatives alike take for granted a progressive view of the Constitution that took root in the early twentieth century. Richard Epstein laments this complacency which, he believes, explains America's current economic malaise and political gridlock. Steering clear of well-worn debates between defenders of originalism and proponents of a living Constitution, Epstein employs close textual reading, historical analysis, and political and economic theory to urge a return to the classical liberal theory of governance that animated the framers' original constitutional design. Grounded in the thought of Locke, Hume, Madison, and other Enlightenment figures, classical liberalism emphasized federalism, restricted government, separation of powers, and strong protection of individual rights. New Deal progressives challenged this synthesis by embracing government as a force for social good rather than a necessary evil. The Supreme Court has unwisely ratified the progressive program by sustaining many legislative initiatives at odds with the classical liberal Constitution. Epstein addresses both the Constitution's structural safeguards against state power and its protection of individual rights. He sheds light on contemporary disputes ranging from presidential prerogatives to health care legislation, while exploring such enduring topics as judicial review, economic regulation, freedom of speech and religion, and equal protection.

How Progressives Rewrote The Constitution

Author: Richard A. Epstein
Publisher: Cato Institute
ISBN: 1933995297
Size: 37.80 MB
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How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution explores the fundamental shift in political and economic thought of the Progressive Era and how the Supreme Court was used to transform the Constitution into one that reflected the ideas of their own time, while undermining America’s founding principles. Epstein examines key decisions to demonstrate how Progressives attacked much of the legal precedent and eventually weakened the Court’s thinking concerning limited federal powers and the protection of individual rights. Progressives on the Court undermined basic economic principles of freedom and competition, paving the way for the modern redistributive and regulatory state. This book shows that our modern “constitutional law,” fashioned largely by the New Deal Court in the late 1930s, has its roots in Progressivism, not in our country's founding principles, and how so many of those ideas, however discredited by more recent economic thought, still shape the Court's decisions.

Design For Liberty

Author: Richard A. Epstein
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674063058
Size: 33.70 MB
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The noted legal scholar Richard Epstein advocates a much smaller federal government, arguing that our over-regulated state gives too much discretion to regulators, which results in arbitrary, unfair decisions and other abuses. Epstein bases his classical liberalism on the twin pillars of the rule of law and of private contracts and property rights.

Skepticism And Freedom

Author: Richard A. Epstein
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226213040
Size: 16.73 MB
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With this book, Richard A. Epstein provides a spirited and systematic defense of classical liberalism against the critiques mounted against it over the past thirty years. One of the most distinguished and provocative legal scholars writing today, Epstein here explains his controversial ideas in what will quickly come to be considered one of his cornerstone works. He begins by laying out his own vision of the key principles of classical liberalism: respect for the autonomy of the individual, a strong system of private property rights, the voluntary exchange of labor and possessions, and prohibitions against force or fraud. Nonetheless, he not only recognizes but insists that state coercion is crucial to safeguarding these principles of private ordering and supplying the social infrastructure on which they depend. Within this framework, Epstein then shows why limited government is much to be preferred over the modern interventionist welfare state. Many of the modern attacks on the classical liberal system seek to undermine the moral, conceptual, cognitive, and psychological foundations on which it rests. Epstein rises to this challenge by carefully rebutting each of these objections in turn. For instance, Epstein demonstrates how our inability to judge the preferences of others means we should respect their liberty of choice regarding their own lives. And he points out the flaws in behavioral economic arguments which, overlooking strong evolutionary pressures, claim that individual preferences are unstable and that people are unable to adopt rational means to achieve their own ends. Freedom, Epstein ultimately shows, depends upon a skepticism that rightly shuns making judgments about what is best for individuals, but that also avoids the relativistic trap that all judgments about our political institutions have equal worth. A brilliant defense of classical liberalism, Skepticism and Freedom will rightly be seen as an intellectual landmark.

Takings

Author: Richard Allen EPSTEIN
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674036557
Size: 46.67 MB
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If legal scholar Richard Epstein is right, then the New Deal is wrong, if not unconstitutional. Epstein develops a coherent normative theory that permits us to distinguish between permissible takings for public use and impermissible ones. He then examines a wide range of government regulations and taxes under a single comprehensive theory.

Principles For A Free Society

Author: Richard A. Epstein
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780786748754
Size: 77.50 MB
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The country's leading libertarian scholar sets forth the essential principles for a legal system that best balances individual liberty versus the common good.

Constitutional Originalism

Author: Robert W. Bennett
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801461111
Size: 21.54 MB
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Problems of constitutional interpretation have many faces, but much of the contemporary discussion has focused on what has come to be called "originalism." The core of originalism is the belief that fidelity to the original understanding of the Constitution should constrain contemporary judges. As originalist thinking has evolved, it has become clear that there is a family of originalist theories, some emphasizing the intent of the framers, while others focus on the original public meaning of the constitutional text. This idea has enjoyed a modern resurgence, in good part in reaction to the assumption of more sweeping power by the judiciary, operating in the name of constitutional interpretation. Those arguing for a "living Constitution" that keeps up with a changing world and changing values have resisted originalism. This difference in legal philosophy and jurisprudence has, since the 1970s, spilled over into party politics and the partisan wrangling over court appointments from appellate courts to the Supreme Court. In Constitutional Originalism, Robert W. Bennett and Lawrence B. Solum elucidate the two sides of this debate and mediate between them in order to separate differences that are real from those that are only apparent. In a thorough exploration of the range of contemporary views on originalism, the authors articulate and defend sharply contrasting positions. Solum brings learning from the philosophy of language to his argument in favor of originalism, and Bennett highlights interpretational problems in the dispute-resolution context, describing instances in which a living Constitution is a more feasible and productive position. The book explores those contrasting positions, to be sure, but also uncovers important points of agreement for the interpretational enterprise. This provocative and absorbing book ends with a bibliographic essay that points to landmark works in the field and helps lay readers and students orient themselves within the literature of the debate.

Mortal Peril

Author: Richard A. Epstein
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780738201894
Size: 22.30 MB
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Examines the social and financial benefits of an unregulated healthcare system while offering examples of how present day regulations are affecting medical care from being provided in specific areas. Reprint.

Why Progressive Institutions Are Unsustainable

Author: Richard Epstein
Publisher: Encounter Books
ISBN: 1594036276
Size: 51.47 MB
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The painful performance of the American economy in the past decade is not a function of bad luck. It is the product of flawed institutional design. Right now we are reaping the harvest of efforts to reinvigorate the progressive programs of the New Deal that stress high progressive taxes, large transfer payments, strong labor laws, and major barriers to free trade. This combination of public finance and market regulation has proved a potent force for disaster. High marginal tax rates expose the political system to strong factional strife that stifles initiative, adds uncertainty and reduces overall revenues. To these multiple ailments, Epstein argues that the best recipe is a return to the flat tax of the classical liberal tradition. The government has committed itself to substituting state mandates for voluntary arrangements in labor and real estate markets, disabling both by retarding job formation and roiling real estate markets. To these multiple ailments, Epstein argues that the best recipe is a reinvigoration of free markets that do not upset voluntary arrangements on the supposed grounds that they are unfair, one-sided or exploitive. Just change these two levers, and we can find an effective classical liberal antidote to excesses of the modern progressive age.