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Oct 07

Economic Liberties and the Constitution

John Locke believed that every person has an inalienable right to “life, liberty, and property.” The United States adopted the world’s first written constitution in part to protect the property rights colonists inherited from the common law against the federal and state governments. Several clauses in the Constitution – such as the Contract Clause – or in the Bill of Rights – such as the Due Process Clause – make that clear. Throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries, the Supreme Court of the United States often endorsed the principle that no government could simply take property from A and give it to B. Beginning in the New Deal era, however, the Court adopted a deferential policy toward government regulation of property, with the result being that, in many instances, economic liberties have become only what the government allows them to be. 

Join us as a distinguished panel of constitutional law experts address this issue and explain why the original “New Deal” – the proposition that the Constitution should vigorously protect economic liberties – although eclipsed by the more recent version, can and should once again be plainly seen and enjoyed by the public.

More About the Speakers

Randy E. Barnett
Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory, Georgetown Law Center 

David E. Bernstein
Professor, George Mason University School of Law 

Clark Neily III
Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice

Hosted By

Paul Larkin Paul Larkin

Senior Legal Research Fellow Read More