Center for Constitutional Studies

Cato’s Center for Constitutional Studies and its scholars take their inspiration from the struggle of America’s founding and Civil War generations to secure liberty through constitutionally limited government. The Center’s scholars address a wide range of constitutional and legal issues, especially by encouraging the judiciary to neither make nor ignore the law but rather to interpret and apply it through the natural rights tradition inherited from the Founders.

Scholars affiliated with the Center for Constitutional Studies, both resident and non-resident, conduct rigorous legal research on a wide range of subjects: constitutional theory and history, the Supreme Court, property rights, environmental law, and others. The Center publishes the annual Cato Supreme Court Review, released at its annual Constitution Day Conference, featuring leading legal scholars analyzing the most important decisions of the Court’s recent term. Center scholars also write and commission books, monographs, articles, and op-eds; conduct forums on legal issues of the day; lecture and debate across the country; and file amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs with the Supreme Court, all aimed at encouraging a climate of ideas conducive to liberty through constitutionally limited government.

From October 2012 to June 2013, Cato was also one of the most successful amicus filers, with the Court siding with Cato 15 out of 18 times. For briefs supporting cert, the Court took 28 percent of cases in which Cato filed, compared to the Court’s typical average of taking only 1 percent of cases seeking review. Petitioners to the Supreme Court from all over the country now actively seek Cato’s support — so many that we often have to turn some away due to lack of resources.

Of Special Note

Cato Legal Briefs

As part of Cato’s mission is to secure liberty through limited government and the rule of law, we file “amicus curiae” (friend of the court) briefs with the Supreme Court. These briefs encourage the Court to interpret and apply the law through the natural rights tradition inherited from the founding generation — and educate the scholars, advocates, and interested others about Cato’s legal positions.

New Site

PoliceMisconduct.net

This new Cato project gathers reports of credible allegations of police misconduct so policymakers (and others) can make informed assessments of the nature and circumstances of police misconduct, and consider proposals that can minimize wrongdoing.

Special! 10 Copies for $10

Cato Pocket Constitution

To encourage people everywhere to better understand and appreciate the principles of government that are set forth in America’s founding documents, the Cato Institute published this pocket-size edition.

Supreme Court Review

Supreme Court Review: 2013-14

The 13th volume of the Cato Supreme Court Review, the nation’s first in-depth critique of the Supreme Court term just ended. This is not a typical law review, whose prolix submissions use more space for pedantic and abstruse footnotes than for article text. Instead, this is a book of articles about law intended for everyone from lawyers and judges to educated laymen and interested citizens.