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.


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 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.


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 April 27, 2017

Trinity Lutheran Church and Unconstitutional Conditions

The recent case of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer raises the question of whether a church can be excluded from a competitive process for awarding state aid–in this case funding rubber floors on playgrounds to protect children when they fall.

Law & Liberty April 27, 2017

Federalism By Judicial Press Release

I’m a little late with this but why am I always right? Back in February, I commented on the “sanctuary city” litigation: [L]awsuits filed by San Francisco and some other jurisdictions are, at best, wildly premature—“unripe,” as the lawyers say. …

Law & Liberty April 27, 2017

Historians and Originalists Part III: The Hard Case of Discovering the Original Meaning of the 14th Amendment

In my last post, I want to discuss hard constitutional clauses – clauses where the original meaning of the constitutional provisions are extremely difficult to understand.  In these cases, one might expect that the skills of the professional historian would …

Law & Liberty April 27, 2017

The Judicial Behavior We Never Observe

Wood judge's gavel over a legal book with white space top.

Outcomes that occur with probability zero are more relevant, and more confounding, to what we do see than we often think they are. Take, for example, the absence of nuclear war during the Cold War era. One side argued from

Law & Liberty April 27, 2017

How Do You Enforce Responsibility?

One of the great difficulties of consistent libertarianism is that of making people bear the full consequences of their own actions and choices. Another great difficulty, indeed, is whether we should much care to live in a society that found

Law & Liberty April 26, 2017

This Is Your Brain on Scientism

The problem with convening a March for Prudence is that the prudent—being otherwise occupied and believing public views should be mediated through representation—would never attend. But after the unbounded rhetoric of the March for Science, one wonders if prudence

Law & Liberty April 25, 2017

Kate O’Beirne, In Memoriam


Kate Walsh O’Beirne, conservative grande dame with tons of class and zero pretensions, died this past Sunday. Mutual friends who knew her up-close—Bill Kristol, Ramesh Ponnuru, Jonah Goldberg—have posted affectionate, moving tributes. But she inspired and will be missed by …

Law & Liberty April 25, 2017

A Debate over the Meaning and Perfection of Education in America

Student bubbling in answers on a standardized test form with a shallow depth of field

One of candidate Donald Trump’s biggest applause lines when campaigning was his promise to end the Common Core national K-12 standards. For the first time in any presidential campaign an education issue claimed a place of importance with grassroots citizens.

Law & Liberty April 24, 2017

Focusing on Flat Incomes Obscures Fundamental Economic Changes

Economic growth concept

In General Sherman’s memoirs, he reports that in 1850 the U.S. Army reassigned him from San Francisco to the east coast of the United States. He mentions that the passage from San Francisco back to the east coast of the

Law & Liberty April 24, 2017

Google and Facebook Provide Innovations that Make Us More Equal

Seo Concepts

The New York Times publishes many silly opinion pieces on law and economics but a recent article by Jonathan Taplin, Isn’t it Time to Break Up Google, plumbs new depths of folly.  The title understates the breadth of its