The Volokh Conspiracy

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Heritage Foundation event on economic liberty and the constitution this Tuesday


The event, held Tuesday at noon, features co-blogger Randy Barnett, Institute for Justice attorney Clark Neily III, and me.

The announcement is below. You can register for the event, or watch it live, at this link.

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.

I think it's worth noting that Heritage hosting a panel like this with three libertarianish scholars and no conservative dissenters represents a significant shift from the not-too-distant past, when Heritage was utterly skeptical of anything that smacked of "Lochner."