Magazine March 9, 2015, Issue

The Libertarian Constitution

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (Time Life Pictures/Library of Congress/Getty)
Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court, by Damon Root (Palgrave Macmillan, 288 pp., $28)

In January, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) caused a minor stir on the right by speaking in favor of “judicial activism.” When legislatures do “bad things,” he suggested, an “activist court” should overturn them. “Maybe,” he mused, courts should begin not from a presumption of constitutionality but from a “presumption of liberty” when considering constitutional challenges to democratically enacted laws.

These remarks challenged the commonplace view that liberals are the proponents of judicial activism, egging courts on to invalidate the will of the majority in order to defend the rights of individuals, while conservatives are defenders of judicial restraint or judicial

Carson HollowayMr. Holloway is a visiting scholar at the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at the Heritage Foundation and the author of Hamilton versus Jefferson in the Washington Administration.

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

B.S. Degrees

Exhibit A in the category “Questions Nobody Is Asking”: Does Howard Dean believe that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is qualified to be president? “Qualification” has two related but distinct senses: The ...
Politics & Policy

Can Israel Survive?

Jerusalem — In the weeks since the Charlie Hebdo and kosher-supermarket massacres in Paris, thousands of French Jews have contacted Israeli authorities to begin the process of aliyah, the “ascent” ...


Politics & Policy

Reform the Clean Air Act

Once every eight years comes a day perfect for hiding the most unpopular and ill-advised policy decisions. It arrives right after a second-term president’s midterm elections, when he will never ...

Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Foucault among the Buckleyites I was delighted to see Daniel Foster quoting Michel Foucault in your pages. Despite his reputation as being the typical French intellectual who is chic, impenetrable, and ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she was not 100 percent sober during the State of the Union address. That’s okay, Madam Justice: We’re not sure the president was, either. ‐ President ...
Happy Warrior

The Darwinian Tradition

I’ve always been interested in the application of Darwinian and ersatz-Darwinian thinking to areas outside biology proper, and back when I was merely a future grad-school dropout, I spent a ...


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