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In this timely reevaluation of an infamous Supreme Court decision, David E. Bernstein provides a compelling survey of the history and background of Lochner v. New York. This 1905 decision invalidated state laws limiting work hours and became the leading case contending that novel economic regulations were unconstitutional. Sure to be controversial, Rehabilitating Lochner argues that the decision was well grounded in precedent—and that modern constitutional jurisprudence owes at least as much to the limited-government ideas of Lochner proponents as to the more expansive vision of its Progressive opponents. Tracing the influence of this decision through subsequent battles over segregation laws, sex discrimination, civil liberties, and more, Rehabilitating Lochner argues not only that the court acted reasonably in Lochner, but that Lochner and like-minded cases have been widely misunderstood and unfairly maligned ever since.
In this timely reevaluation of an infamous Supreme Court decision, David E. Bernstein provides a compelling survey of the history and background of Lochner v. New York. This 1905 decision invalidated state laws limiting work hours and became the leading case contending that novel economic regulations were unconstitutional. Sure to be controversial, Rehabilitating Lochner argues that the decision was well grounded in precedent—and that modern constitutional jurisprudence owes at least as much to the limited-government ideas of Lochner proponents as to the more expansive vision of its Progressive opponents. Tracing the influence of this decision through subsequent battles over segregation laws, sex discrimination, civil liberties, and more, Rehabilitating Lochner argues not only that the court acted reasonably in Lochner, but that Lochner and like-minded cases have been widely misunderstood and unfairly maligned ever since.
In this seminal work, Bernard Siegan traces the history of onstitutional protection for economic liberties in the United States. He argues that the law began to change with respect to economic liberties in the late 1930s. At that time, the Supreme Court abdicated much of its authority to protect property rights, and instead condoned the expansion of state power over private property. Siegan brings the argument originally advanced in the .first edition completely up to date. He explores the moral position behind capitalism and discusses why former communist countries flirting with decentralization and a free market (for instance, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos) have become more progressive and prosperous as a result. He contrasts the benefits of a free, deregulated economy with the dangers of over-regulation and moves towards socialized welfare?most specifically as happened during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency. Supporting his thesis with historical court cases, Siegan discusses the past and present status of economic liberties under the Constitution, clarifies constitutional interpretation and due process, and suggests ways of safeguarding economic liberties. About the original edition, Doug Bandow of Reason noted, "Siegan has written a vitally important book that is sure to ignite an impassioned legal and philosophical debate. The reason?the necessity?for protecting economic liberty is no less than that guaranteeing political and civil liberty." Joseph Sobran of the National Review wrote, "Siegan...makes a powerful general case for economic liberty, on both historical and more strictly empirical grounds.... Siegan has done a brilliant piece of work, not only where it was badly needed, but where the need had hardly been recognized until he addressed it." And Edwin Meese remarked that, "This timely and important book shows how far we have drifted from protecting basic liberties that the Framers of the Constitution sought to secure. I recommend it highly." This new, completely revised edition of Economic Liberties and the Constitution will be essential reading for students of economics, history, public policy, law, and political science.
The U.S. Constitution found in school textbooks and under glass in Washington is not the one enforced today by the Supreme Court. In Restoring the Lost Constitution, Randy Barnett argues that since the nation's founding, but especially since the 1930s, the courts have been cutting holes in the original Constitution and its amendments to eliminate the parts that protect liberty from the power of government. From the Commerce Clause, to the Necessary and Proper Clause, to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, to the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court has rendered each of these provisions toothless. In the process, the written Constitution has been lost. Barnett establishes the original meaning of these lost clauses and offers a practical way to restore them to their central role in constraining government: adopting a "presumption of liberty" to give the benefit of the doubt to citizens when laws restrict their rightful exercises of liberty. He also provides a new, realistic and philosophically rigorous theory of constitutional legitimacy that justifies both interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning and, where that meaning is vague or open-ended, construing it so as to better protect the rights retained by the people. As clearly argued as it is insightful and provocative, Restoring the Lost Constitution forcefully disputes the conventional wisdom, posing a powerful challenge to which others must now respond. This updated edition features an afterword with further reflections on individual popular sovereignty, originalist interpretation, judicial engagement, and the gravitational force that original meaning has exerted on the Supreme Court in several recent cases.
In Lawless, George Mason University law professor David E. Bernstein provides a lively, scholarly account of how the Obama administration has undermined the Constitution and the rule of law. Lawless documents how President Barack Obama has presided over one constitutional debacle after another—Obamacare; unauthorized wars in the Middle East; attempts to strip property owners, college students, religious groups, and conservative political activists of their rights; and many more. Violating his own promises to respect the Constitution’s separation of powers, Obama brazenly ignores Congress when it won’t rubber-stamp his initiatives. “We can’t wait,” he intones when amending Obamacare on the fly or signing a memo legalizing millions of illegal immigrants, as if Congress doing its job as a coequal branch of government somehow permits the president to rule like a dictator, free from the Constitution’s checks and balances. President Obama has also presided over the bold and rampant lawlessness of his underlings. Harry Truman famously said, “The buck stops here.” When confronted with allegations that his administration’s actions are illegal, Obama responds, “So sue me.” Lawless shows how President Obama has betrayed not only the Constitution but also his own stated principles. In the process, he has done serious and potentially permanent damage to our constitutional system. As America swings into election season, it will have to grapple with finding a president who can repair Obama’s lawless legacy.
Should the Supreme Court defer to the will of the majority and uphold most democratically enacted laws? Or does the Constitution empower the Supreme Court to protect a broad range of individual rights from the reach of lawmakers? In this timely and provocative book, Damon Root traces the long war over judicial activism and judicial restraint from its beginnings in the bloody age of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction to its central role in today's blockbuster legal battles over gay rights, gun control, and health care reform. It's a conflict that cuts across the political spectrum in surprising ways and makes for some unusual bedfellows. Judicial deference is not only a touchstone of the Progressive left, for example, it is also a philosophy adopted by many members of the modern right. Today's growing camp of libertarians, however, has no patience with judicial restraint and little use for majority rule. They want the courts and judges to police the other branches of government, and expect Justices to strike down any state or federal law that infringes on their bold constitutional agenda of personal and economic freedom. Overruled is the story of two competing visions, each one with its own take on what role the government and the courts should play in our society, a fundamental debate that goes to the very heart of our constitutional system.
Examines the history of the liberty of contract and shows how this right has been continuously diminished by court decisions and by our country's growing regulatory and welfare state.

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