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Dear Colleague’s Letter of the Law

Societal attitudes and mores can and do change dramatically over time, but (aside from Humpty Dumpty) the meaning of commonly understood words does not. Slavery, existing at the Founding, was abolished following the Civil War through the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution. Suffrage, which many states could and did restrict to white men…

In What Circumstances Would the Threat of State Bankruptcy Be Credible?

Michael McConnell’s Liberty Forum essay does an excellent job of outlining the legal case that enabling states to declare bankruptcy…

Black Crime Matters

Could a book entitled The War on Cops be more disturbingly prescient? Within just a few weeks of the release…

From the Blog

Mike Rappaport
University of San Diego School of Law

Toobin on Justice Thomas’ Alleged Arrogance

While I was on vacation, Jeffrey Toobin published a hit piece on Clarence Thomas in…

Reflections on China

I recently visited China for the first time.  Here are some of my impressions. My main…

The Original Ghostbusters: A Free Market Gem

This summer there is a remake of the classic 1980s picture, Ghostbusters.  Much of the…

John O. McGinnis
Northwestern University School of Law

May’s Ministry Is Another Sign of Trouble for Liberty

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher together moved the world decisively back toward classical liberal principles…

Regulators, Hands Off the Autopilot!

Tesla provides an autopilot that allows its cars to drive themselves in certain circumstances. Recently,…

Progressivism Is a Long-Term Threat to the Rule of Law

Many people are concerned about Donald Trump’s commitment to the rule of law, a concern…

Michael S. Greve
George Mason University Law School

Hang in There, RBG: The Country Needs You

Like Mike Rappaport and much of the broader world, I’ve been baffled by Justice Ruth…

The Migrating Power of the Purse

Chris DeMuth, an occasional contributor to this site, and yours truly have penned an exploratory…

This Realm, This England

I sure hope the Brits vote “Leave” on June 23. That would be the first…

Liberty Law Forum

Illinois State Legislature

Extending Bankruptcy Law to States: Is It Constitutional?

Puerto Rico cannot pay its debts. A significant number of states—with Illinois leading the way—teeter on the brink of fiscal disaster. Expenditures exceed revenues; debt service is a rising percentage of budgets; pension liabilities are woefully underfunded; credit ratings plummet; time is running out. If these states were private corporations, and even if they were cities,…

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Responses

Sovereignty and Orderly Defaults

In his illuminating and timely Liberty Forum essay on the constitutional impediments to a state-level bankruptcy procedure, Michael McConnell emphasizes the importance of the sovereignty of the states in the framework of American federalism. Unlike Detroit and San Bernardino, and perhaps unlike Puerto Rico, the states are considered fully sovereign with respect to taxation, expenditures,…

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State Bankruptcy and the Federal Order

While a federal bankruptcy law for states might be a desirable policy, its constitutionality is doubtful. Now, I am not a constitutional lawyer and cannot speak to the details of United States case law, but I do study fiscal federalism in comparative context: its conditions, operations, and consequences. Accordingly, I will analyze how a federal…

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In What Circumstances Would the Threat of State Bankruptcy Be Credible?

Michael McConnell’s Liberty Forum essay does an excellent job of outlining the legal case that enabling states to declare bankruptcy is not necessarily inconsistent with constitutional principles or with existing case law. From the perspective of a public choice economist, however, there is another salient issue. What those who study the outcomes of institutional arrangements and…

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