Law & Liberty

Law & 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. The site considers a range of foundational and contemporary legal issues, legal philosophy, and pedagogy.


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.


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 presents 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.


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 October 17, 2017

The Constitution’s Elegant Nudge

The catchy phrase is as important in academic writing as it is in popular writing. In motivating their constitution-making stage in The Calculus of Consent, James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock assumed “that the individual is uncertain as to what

Law & Liberty October 17, 2017

The Rising Trust in Bitcoin

The timing could not have been more propitious for Liberty Fund’s conference on cryptocurrency this past weekend.  Last week Bitcoin hit an all-time high, even as it decreases in volatility. In their book, The Age of Cryptocurrency, Paul Vigna

Law & Liberty October 16, 2017

What’s the Alt-Right? A Conversation with George Hawley

George Hawley joins our discussion to talk about his new book, Making Sense of the Alt-Right. We talk about the Alt-Right's power—real and imagined—its political goals, and the composition of this largely online movement.…

Law & Liberty October 16, 2017

Is There a Rawlsian Solution to Conflicts over Religious Liberty?

The title of the new book by Nelson Tebbe, professor of law at Brooklyn Law School and visiting professor of law at Cornell Law School, is a giveaway. The book surveys the challenges that religious freedom, a stubborn relic of …

Law & Liberty October 16, 2017

The Politics of Resentment and Debt

Populism—the politics of resentment—is generally regarded as a right-wing phenomenon. Populists supposedly appeal to the lowest prejudices of the unintelligently disgruntled, such as unskilled workers who believe that the immigration of large numbers of people from poorer countries than theirs

Law & Liberty October 13, 2017

How Progressivism Undermines Deliberative Government

Three U.S. states originally had unicameral legislatures, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Vermont. Unicameralism didn’t last long in those states. Georgia adopted a second chamber in 1789. Pennsylvania in 1790. Vermont held out a bit longer, adding a second chamber to its

Law & Liberty October 13, 2017

Chief Crusader of a Crusader State

The question that Julia Ward Howe posed in 1899—“Why should we fear to pass from the Old Testament of our own liberties, to the New Testament of liberty for all the world?”—could serve as an epigraph for Walter McDougall’s scholarship …

Law & Liberty October 12, 2017

How The Roberts Court Will Actually Become the Roberts Court

There is a long established convention of referring to the Supreme Court in a given era by the name of its Chief Justice. Thus, we have the Marshall Court, the Warren Court, and the Rehnquist Court. But this name is

Law & Liberty October 12, 2017

The Original Fourth Amendment and Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

Recently, Laura Donahue, a professor at Georgetown Law and an expert on digital privacy, came to the Originalism Center at the University of San Diego to talk about her recent article, “The Original Fourth Amendment.”  The article is

Law & Liberty October 12, 2017

Progressivism and the Preamble

Constitutions are naturally conserving documents. Their purpose is to say what a society cannot change, or at least cannot change readily. In constitutive moments, polities lash themselves like Odysseus to the mast, not the pilot’s seat.

This is lost on