The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty

January 30, 2014
The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to LibertyIn his latest Cato book, Tim Sandefur addresses one of the most neglected topics in modern American constitutional law, the philosophical foundations of the Constitution. He argues that for that we should look to the “conscience” of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, as Abraham Lincoln did. And if we do, we discover that the Constitution was written not to empower democratic majorities to rule widely, as happens today, but to secure our natural rights to liberty through limited government. In his penetrating analysis of those issues, Sandefur examines the origins of “substantive due process” and “judicial activism and restraint” to argue that only through an engaged judiciary will the promise of the Declaration be realized. Hadley Arkes, one of America’s leading scholars on these issues, will offer comments for what should be an enlightening and timely discussion of a subject of enduring importance. Please join us.

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