"I consider myself a proponent of limited government," writes Richard Epstein in his most recent Defining Ideas column. "So does Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has moved the term 'libertarian' to the fore of our national political debates. In a recent New York Times analysis, 'Rand Paul’s Mixed Inheritance,' Sam Tanenhaus and Jim Rutenberg treat him as today’s exemplar of libertarian thought. But Paul’s ideology is a far cry from classical liberalism, which is conceptually and politically superior to hard-line libertarianism."
The State Department's America.gov site is currently featuring a debate between Richard Epstein and Derek Bambauer of Brooklyn Law School, in which they discuss whether government censorship over the internet is ever justifiable. You can join the debate here.
The topic of corporate bankruptcy law scarcely titillates the
imagination of ordinary citizens, even those with a deep interest in
constitutional and public affairs. Harried people treat bankruptcy
almost dismissively as a useful way of winding up firms that cannot
keep their financial heads above water. In practice they sense rightly
that the corporate bankruptcy system cleanses the economy of weak
players by their liquidation, reorganization, or sale, hopefully to
allow their assets to be released to more productive uses. Explaining
how bankruptcy works isn’t a fit subject for polite company.
Those perceptions have changed now that the Chrysler and GM
bankruptcies have set a new standard for the fast resolution of some
complex if dubious transactions. So troublesome questions arise: Did
these transactions comply with the rule of law? Were the property
rights of the secured creditors fully protected in the expedited
proceedings? Will the process bring confidence to the credit markets?
No, no, and no again. Those three “nos” come as no surprise. The basic
classical liberal position is right to insist that the government
cannot sensibly occupy the roles of market participant and market
regulator simultaneously. All else is detail.
Continuing with today's Epstein/Fed Soc theme, the Federalist Society has posted a recording of Prof. Epstein discussing Bilski v. Kappos. The SCOTUS heard oral argument in the case on November 9. According to the Fed Soc site,
The issue in this case is whether a "process" must be tied to a
particular machine or apparatus or transform a particular article into
a different state or thing in order to be eligible for patenting under
35 U.S.C. § 101.
Other participants included Steve Forbes, Chairman
and CEO of Forbes Inc. and Editor of Forbes Magazine; Prof. Jed
Rubenfeld of Yale Law School; Andrew L. Stern, President of the
Service Employees International Union; and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson
III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit as the