Richard Reinsch

Richard Reinsch is the editor of Law and Liberty.

He Built Better Than He Knew

Peter Lawler, Photo by Zac Calvert

Peter Lawler’s passing has been quite painful to me as it has to so very many people who were his students, friends, and colleagues. His death means that a source of incomparable wisdom in my life is gone. One story that sticks in my mind is the time that Peter secured a rather sizable grant from a certain foundation. He had to participate in a contest of sorts for the grant. His other competitors had put together PowerPoint presentations, binders, flow charts, deploying MBA-speak to demonstrate the vital impact the money would have if they could make use of it. Peter, who never hesitated to mock MBA-speak in deadpan tones, thought the episode illustrated technocratic practices at their best, applying corporate business techniques in the realm of non-profit outreach. Peter told me that he wrote down a few lines on a scratch paper while waiting his turn to speak to the grant-making committee. He delivered his “innovative” talk in a few minutes. He focused on—what else?—virtue and human nature. Needless to say, he was chosen to receive the funding.

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The Liquid Constitution


Legal historian Mary Sarah Bilder’s op-ed in the Boston Globe means to level originalism. Her effort has produced responses from Lawrence Solum and from John McGinnis and Mike Rappaport on this site. The criticisms sum to the notion that Bilder is shooting scattershot rounds at a defined scholarly target.

Bilder’s argument is that the members of the Constitutional Convention did not have “the luxury of even imagining that each and every word possessed an invariable, sacred meaning.” Who said they did?

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Why Berkeley and BYU Should be Loud and Proud about It

The University of California, Berkeley emerged again as a bastion of protest against perceived fascism. Alt-Right leader Milo Yiannopoulos was invited by the Berkeley College Republicans to speak on the campus, only to be blocked by protestors and violent rioters. President Trump, in true late-night form, tweeted: No free speech, ‘NO FEDERAL FUNDS?’

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We Want Workers, But We Must Form American Citizens

Ellis Island, New York

Gerald Russello, editor of the University Bookman, has put together a great symposium on immigration entitled Citizen, Community, and Welcoming the Stranger with pieces by Yuval Levin, Bruce Frohnen, Peter Lawler, David Azerrad, Brad Birzer, and Daniel McCarthy. Below is my contribution which is reposted with permission from the Bookman.

America’s more open approach to widespread immigration is faltering, the support for it eroded by our low-growth economy. For too many, the pie seems to be shrinking, with those at the Little Debbie level much more aware of this than those who can afford double-swirly cheesecakes. To be sure, some of the blame for the Obama era’s anemic growth can be put on aggressive regulatory policy. Obamacare increased, in effect, the tax on labor that employers must pay, with predictable responses on their part. The Federal Reserve became the largest financial intermediary in the country under the reign of quantitative easing, meaning that the central bank, and not an array of investors, has been the biggest allocator of capital. As Bastiat told us, we’re unable to see the value that wasn’t created as a result of centralized policies that squelched opportunities for growth.

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Welcoming James Rogers


I'm excited to announce that James Rogers has joined us as a regular blogger. He opens with a response to Cass Sunstein's criticisms of originalism. Rogers is no stranger to this space, having guest blogged in November and, before that, contributing other posts and reviews. His review of Ilya Somin’s Democracy and Political Ignorance is worth revisiting. Rogers has a joint faculty appointment at Texas A&M University and at the TAMU campus in Doha, Qatar. He holds a Ph.D in political science as well as a J.D. In addition to publishing numerous articles in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Law,…

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A Return to Constitutionalism

Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court nominee.  Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is by virtually every account a stellar jurist. His writings are now being mined, by supporters and opponents alike, for evidence of his commitment to judicial restraint and the separation of powers.

That evidence is not hard to find. In an address delivered on April 27, 2016, Gorsuch spoke of “the great project of Justice Scalia’s career,” namely to expound “the differences between judges and legislators.”

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After Administration

Scartoffie, pratiche e burocrazia

Do we need a theory of managerial class disintegration? Such an ambitious question can at the least be ventured given our headlines: Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, the European Union and the larger rise of the Euronationalist parties, and the questioning of postwar international institutions, to name a few.

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A New President

President Washington's Inauguration in New York City, April 23, 1789.

Tomorrow will make it official that Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America. His inauguration will likely be full of the Americana that many of us love, one that will provide telling points of patriotism and gratitude without any of the postmodern irony that lurked in Obama’s second inaugural where he said the truths of the Declaration of Independence “may” be self evident, and, without pausing, concluded that we should still be willing to work eagerly on their behalf.  Trump’s election tells us that Americans are not rushing to enter the age of post-national and…

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Introducing Mark Movsesian as January Guest Blogger

I am excited to announce that Mark Movsesian will be guest blogging at Law and Liberty for the month of January on religious freedom and migration issues facing the Middle East, among other topics. Some of our readers will recall Mark's earlier account of the Armenian genocide. In addition to being the Frederick A. Whitney Professor and Director of the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s University Law School, he is co-director of the Tradition Project, a new research initiative that explores the continuing relevance of tradition in law, politics, and culture. He writes in law and religion, contracts and international and comparative law; his…

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