Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform
About the Book
In this timely reevaluation of an infamous Supreme Court decision, David E. Bernstein provides a compelling survey of the history and background of Lochner v. New York. This 1905 decision invalidated state laws limiting work hours and became the leading case contending that novel economic regulations were unconstitutional. Sure to be controversial, the book argues that the decision was well grounded in precedent and that modern constitutional jurisprudence owes at least as much to the limited‐government ideas of Lochner proponents as to the more expansive vision of its Progressive opponents.
Tracing the influence of this decision through subsequent battles over segregation laws, sex discrimination, civil liberties, and more, Rehabilitating Lochner argues not only that the court acted reasonably in Lochner, but that Lochner and like‐minded cases have been widely misunderstood and unfairly maligned ever since.
About the Author
David E. Bernstein is Foundation Professor at the George Mason University School of Law and Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute. He is the author of several books, including, You Can’t Say That! The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination Laws.
What Others Have Said
“An exhilarating book full of interesting new perspectives. Rehabilitating Lochner will change the way people think about the transition from the late nineteenth century to the modern New Deal and Civil Rights regime. It does what good revisionist history should do: see what is familiar in new ways.”
—Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School
“David Bernstein drives home powerfully and convincingly the fact that the supporters of Lochner were the biggest proponents of protecting the personal rights of African Americans, Roman Catholics, and other minorities. Rehabilitating Lochner will have a profound impact on constitutional law scholarship.”
—William E. Nelson, New York University
“A terrific work of historical revisionism, Rehabilitating Lochner brings out some attractive resonances in libertarian themes associated with the widely disparaged constitutional jurisprudence of the period from 1905 to 1937, and some discordant undertones to the Progressive themes sounded during that period. It should induce some changes in the way many students and scholars read the cases from that period.”
—Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law School