Richard Reinsch

Richard Reinsch is a fellow at Liberty Fund and the editor of the Library of Law and Liberty.

Weekend with Mitch


Mitch Daniels’ attempt as president of Purdue University to define the leading edge of higher education reform is prominently featured by the Wall Street Journal this weekend. The full interview is definitely worth reading. Carrying over from his success as Governor of Indiana is his focus on wringing as much productivity and efficiency from each dollar spent and each bureaucracy operating.

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Even in Prison, One Can be Free

Kayla Mueller's family has released the following letter that Kayla wrote to them while she was imprisoned by Islamic State terrorists: Everyone, If you are receiving this letter it means I am still detained but my cell mates (starting from 11/2/2014) have been released. I have asked them to contact you + send you this letter. It's hard to know what to say. Please know that I am in a safe location, completely unharmed + healthy (put on weight in fact); I have been treated w/ the utmost respect + kindness. I wanted to write you all a well thought out letter (but…

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Dissenting from Natural Rights Nationalism: A Reply to Randy Barnett


Many thanks to Randy Barnett for his very thoughtful response to my post “The Book of Judges,” which criticizes a natural rights constitutional jurisprudence. Barnett says I was going after a straw man—that real defenders of “judicial engagement” are not calling for a philosopher’s debate on the federal bench that would produce a settled list of the type and content of natural rights for federal judges to enforce. He isn’t about defining and specifying natural rights in judicial decisions. Instead, he notes that they exist, and they are protected in the Ninth Amendment and the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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The Book of Judges


The restrained vision of the federal judiciary that has for some time dominated the jurisprudence of right-leaning American legal theorists and lawyers in this country is now under fire. In writings both academic and popular, many libertarian and classical liberal scholars clamor for the supposed symmetry of substantive due process or the bold recovery of an expansive listing of natural rights that is, we are told, embodied in the 9th Amendment, and the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Even George Will has reversed his own prior position on judicial restraint to now favor “judicial engagement” to protect so-called non-fundamental liberties and unenumerated rights from the rule of majorities, or what some might call the carefully qualified majorities of our republican constitution.

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I Sing of Arms and the Man


Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper tells the story of Navy Seal Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in American military history with 160 confirmed kills. The film opens in Fallujah with Kyle confronting what will be his first two kills, a woman and a young boy who advance with a grenade toward a column of Marines. Kyle’s juvenile Marine escort states the obvious: “If you’re wrong, they’ll send your ass to Leavenworth.” Kyle shoots the boy and then the woman when she picks up his dropped grenade and attempts to throw it.

Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of Kyle here and throughout the film might be called the “inward turn.” Kyle isn’t overwhelmed by the event, but we sense that it is merely the first of many dramatic killings whose troubled imprint on Kyle will emerge in due course. After their deaths, he breathes in, closes his eyes, and then prepares for the next shot.

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What is the Future for a Post-Liberal Europe?

Law and Liberty’s podcast with Danish journalist Flemming Rose, publisher of the 2005 Muhammed cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, took place in November. The occasion of our interview was the publication by the Cato Institute of Rose’s book The Tyranny of Silence, about the consequences he experienced after the cartoons were released. Rose’s voice is obviously powerful given what he endured, but he is also incredibly thoughtful on Europe’s post-liberal order. Europe, he says, now struggles to understand what it is about save for its thin belief in transnational EU governance and a nearly blinding commitment to egalitarianism, itself a contributing factor to the rise of…

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Top Posts of 2014

1.  Telling the Truth about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: A Conversation with Dan Mahoney 2.  The Post-Constitutional Presidency Turns Inward--Greg Weiner 3.  Injustice by the Numbers--Ken Masugi 4.  Victim of a Practice Audit--Philip Hamburger 5.  Now for a Really Destructive Innovation: A Europe-wide State--Theodore Dalrymple 6.  Prescription for a Banana Republic--Michael Greve 7.  How to Secure America's Peace--Angelo Codevilla 8.  The Constitution's Structural Limitations on Power Should be the Focus of the Bill of Rights--Patrick Garry 9.  On "Payback"--Angelo Codevilla 10.  What Tocqueville Can Teach Us about the Culture War--Richard Samuelson

Top 5 Podcasts in 2014

A great year of interviews in 2014. Here's a list of the 5 most downloaded: 1.   A Conversation with Roger Scruton on How to be a Conservative 2.  The Unlawful Administrative State: A Conversation with Philip Hamburger 3.  Telling the Truth about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: A Conversation with Daniel J. Mahoney 4.   Achieving America's Peace: A Conversation with Angelo Codevilla 5.  Presidential Power Rising: A Conversation with Frank Buckley

Exiting the Progressive Matrix: Preschool Edition

man running trough round window opening

Recently stumping for his cooperative federalism model of government-funded preschool, Barack Obama claimed that more money should be spent on these programs so that, in effect, women wouldn’t have to stay at home to take care of children. They should be working as the family’s core functions should be institutionalized by the state. This, of course, confirms what many on the Right think about these types of programs. They are back-door ways to ensure government gets more time with your children and you get more time at work, which you’ll need to pay the taxes for this program and the many other progressive bureaucracies.

Taking a different tack is Indiana Governor Mike Pence who says “This is a heart issue for me” when he urges renewal of his pilot program for government-funded preschool education.

Does that mean evidence-based debate on the subject is heartless? Well we’ll see.

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Bringing an End to National Education Reforms


Andrew Ferguson of the Weekly Standard said recently that the Common Core state standards will ultimately be nothing more than another pile of ashes on the smoldering fire of national education reform. His excellent article reviewed the long and sorry history of such efforts, detailing how the Common Core came to replace George W. Bush’s vaunted (and then hated) No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, itself an effort to replace President Clinton’s Goals 2000, which superceded, that’s right, George H.W. Bush’s America 2000.

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