by Richard A. Epstein
December 03, 2013
Conventional wisdom divides constitutional judges and scholars into two warring camps: conservative and progressive. The classical liberal offers a third point of view, by explaining how our Constitution secures a system of strong property rights and limited government. It does so by rejecting the deep antitheoretical strand that often guides both conservative and progressive thought, and leads both groups—for somewhat different reasons—to support a highly deferential, if misnamed, “rational basis” test to assess the constitutionality of congressional and legislative action. It rejects both the judicial restraint of the conservatives and the economic naiveté of the progressives, and in so doing supplies the only blueprint for judicial action that can help lift this nation from its current malaise. We pay a high price for straying from first principles.