Supreme Court

How the Conservative Supreme Court Is Changing America

Leading libertarian legal scholar Randy Barnett talks about abortion, gun rights, and worrying trends at the highest court in the land.


Abortion rights struck down. Gun rights expanded. Prayer on the 50-yard line of public school football fields approved.

As the most momentous—and controversial—Supreme Court term in recent memory comes to a close, are things looking better or worse for libertarians? 

Georgetown Law's Randy Barnett, arguably the most important and influential libertarian legal scholar walking on the planet today, applauds some of this term's rulings. But he's also worried that the new 6–3 conservative majority may be too quick to sign off on laws restricting the explicit and implicit rights of individuals guaranteed by the Constitution.

In an episode of The Reason Interview With Nick Gillespie, Barnett and I talked about the Dobbs decision that struck down a women's right to an abortion, the Bruen decision that struck down a New York state law limiting the ability of gun owners to carry weapons, and other major rulings. We talk about the general direction of the Supreme Court and whether it's headed down a more—or less—libertarian path.

And we discuss the treatment of Ilya Shapiro, the former Cato staffer who was going to join Barnett at Georgetown until a controversy erupted over one of Shapiro's tweets, which led to him ultimately taking a job at the Manhattan InstituteThe university's refusal to strongly back Shapiro's speech rights, says Barnett, was shameful but indicative of where law schools are these days.

Take a listen. And go to to subscribe to The Reason Interview With Nick Gillespie and all our shows, including the new The Reason Rundown With Peter Suderman.

Photos: Randy Barnett portrait by Gage Skidmore; CNP/AdMedia/SIPA/Newscom; Bill Clark/Newscom; Steve Sanchez/Sipa USA/Newscom; CNP/AdMedia/SIPA/Newscom; Allison Bailey/SUMA Press/Newscom; Ilya Shapiro portrait by Gage Skidmore; Steve Sanchez/Pacific Press/Newscom.