Introducing Myself

For my first post, I thought I would introduce myself.  I have lived in blue states my whole life – growing up in NYC, living in Washington DC after law school, and then moving to California to teach.  While I had pretty left wing views growing up, I moved to the right before entering college, and have stayed there ever since.

I went to law school at Yale, where I also received another degree in law and political theory.  After law school, I clerked on the Third Circuit, worked in private practice for Ted Olson, and served in the Office of Legal Council of the Justice Department that was headed by Attorney General Meese.

As an academic, I have worked in various fields, but my dominant passion has been the libertarian pursuit of free markets and freedom under the law.  In recent years, I have focused mainly on constitutional originalism.  At the University of San Diego, I am the Director of the Center for the Study of Constitutionalism and have a book coming out next year from Harvard, Originalism and the Good Constitution (co-authored with John McGinnis), which presents a new defense of originalism.  I have also been blogging at the Center’s Originalism Blog, where I will continue to blog from time to time.

At the Liberty Law Blog, I plan to continue my pursuits, with many posts on originalism, constitutional law, and the moderate version of libertarianism to which I subscribe.  I am looking forward to it.

Mike Rappaport

Professor Rappaport is Darling Foundation Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, where he also serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism. Professor Rappaport is the author of numerous law review articles in journals such as the Yale Law Journal, the Virginia Law Review, the Georgetown Law Review, and the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. His book, Originalism and the Good Constitution, which is co-authored with John McGinnis, was published by the Harvard University Press in 2013.  Professor Rappaport is a graduate of the Yale Law School, where he received a JD and a DCL (Law and Political Theory).

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  1. says

    I agree that some sort of 1L foundation in the major legal thnrkeis of the past 500 years or so would be helpful. My Property professor (Donahue) gave us a bit of that and I found some of that background useful in other classes (e.g. Locke’s influence on the Founders).I think some of the barriers to more deep philosophical discussion are: (1) the very difficulty of agreeing on what should or shouldn’t be the relevant foundational moral principles; (2) moral relativism, which tends to discourage people from arguing that their view is right in a moral sense (especially on politically controversial topics); (3) the fact that many law students probably don’t really care.Although moral relativism is a phenomenon more often identified with liberals (as opposed to conservatives who are supposedly more moralistic/judgmental), I wonder if the concept of moral relativism in the context of law school debates actually helps conservatives in the following ways: (1) it increases the appeal of utilitarian arguments based on efficiency (since they tend to be more objective/quantifiable while discounting moral factors), which in turn tend to favor free markets (which conservatives generally like); and (2) it tends to reframe the debate from what the right answer is to more structural who decides? inquiries, which may lead to conservative wins insofar as conservatives generally like federalism (which may in turn result in more conservative policy outcomes, without conservative law students having to identify themselves directly with politically controversial stances on social issues).

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