The Upside-Down Constitution


upside-down constitutionIn this edition of Liberty Law Talk, Michael Grevediscusses his new book, The Upside Down Constitution. Mainstream conservative thinking regards federalism only in its vertical dimension as a balance that should exist between the federal and state governments. Lamenting the loss of this balance as an outcome of the New Deal revolution in government and jurisprudence, most limited government thinking has bypassed a crucial legacy of federalism, namely, its horizontal aspect of guaranteeing that states are not able to inhibit commerce through extra-territorial legislation and cartel-like (faction) behavior. Of significance is that progressive government has unleashed the growth of power at all levels of government by reneging on the commitments in the Constitution that limited the ability of states to appropriate  a tax and regulatory surplus for their benefit. Greve contends that recovering the memory and practice of the Constitution as a pact to preserve individual liberty and not state surplus is the central effort that must be made.

Michael S. Greve is a professor at George Mason University School of Law. From 2000 to August, 2012, Professor Greve was the John G. Searle Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he remains a visiting scholar. Before coming to AEI, Professor Greve cofounded and, from 1989 to 2000, directed the Center for Individual Rights, a public interest law firm. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in government from Cornell University, and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Hamburg. Currently, Professor Greve also chairs the board of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and is a frequent contributor to the Liberty Law Blog. Professor Greve has written extensively on many aspects of the American legal system. His publications include numerous law review articles and books, including most recently The Upside-Down Constitution (Harvard University Press, 2012). He has also written The Demise of Environmentalism in American Law (1996); Real Federalism: Why It Matters, How It Could Happen (1999); and Harm-less Lawsuits? What's Wrong With Consumer Class Actions (2005). He is the coeditor, with Richard A. Epstein, of Competition Laws in Conflict: Antitrust Jurisdiction in the Global Economy (2004) and Federal Preemption: States' Powers, National Interests (2007); and, with Michael Zoeller, of Citizenship in America and Europe: Beyond the Nation-State? (2009).

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