"The Institute for Justice combines the right's focus on economic liberty with the left's willingness to effect change through the courts"


In an interview focusing on civil liberties and the 2012 election, Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic talks to Institute for Justice senior attorney Jeff Rowes. Here's a snippet:

Are there any policy stances you'd particularly like to see from candidates vying for the presidency?

We'd like to see candidates recognize that "activist" legislatures on the right and left are the biggest threat to economic liberty. We'd also like to see politicians on the right and left stop their steady campaign to delegitimize the courts by accusing judges of "activism" on those extremely rare occasions (this happens a handful of times each year) in which a law is invalidated as unconstitutional. 

There are three branches of government, not two, and the purpose of government is to protect liberty, not provide the elected branches with unlimited opportunities to manipulate the lives and property of citizens. Economists working in public choice theory have understood for two generations that the elected branches will almost inevitably be turned into instruments for the advancement of industry, not public, interests. IJ is a staunch defender of the free market and a sharp critic of the fact that most people in the free market spend an enormous amount of time and money petitioning government to make the market unfree in a way that advantages them and hobbles the competition.

If asked during a presidential debate to pose one question on behalf of IJ what would it be?

I'd ask this: "Would you support legislation and a rule of constitutional interpretation that presumes economic regulations to be invalid such that if they are challenged in court, the burden is on the government to establish a legitimate reason for its intrusion into the lives of citizens?"

Read the whole thing here.