Philosophy

  • “Liberty To Do What?” — Hadley Arkes at The Human Life Review

    by James Wilson Institute on July 6, 2022
    On June 1, 2022, James Wilson Institute Founder and Director Hadley Arkes joined First Things editor Rusty Reno and City College of New York’s George McKenna for a panel hosted by The Human Life Review. They first discussed the potential conflict between liberty and freedom as written in McKenna’s essay, “The Odd Couple: Freedom and […]
  • “A Jurisprudential Red Pill: Part I” — Evelyn Blacklock

    by James Wilson Institute on April 27, 2022
    Evelyn Blacklock reviews Prof. Adrian Vermeule's "Common Good Constitutionalism," which argues that both originalism and living constitutionalism have abandoned the classical legal tradition.
  • “The Conservative Legal Movement Sputters” — Josh Hammer in the Spectator World

    by James Wilson Institute on April 20, 2022
    Taking an honest look at today’s conservative jurisprudence, Josh Hammer calls for a return to the Bible, natural law, and the substantive precepts underpinning our constitutional order. Some excerpts: “A sober, empirical assessment of the past four decades paints an ambiguous picture of substantive conservative success in US courthouses. It is simply not obvious how […]
  • “‘It’s Good (Not) to be the King’: Qualified Praise for Michael McConnell” — Garrett Snedeker

    by James Wilson Institute on March 18, 2022
    Anchoring Truths co-founder Garrett Snedeker offers qualified praise for Prof. Michael McConnell’s recent book on executive power under the Constitution. While McConnell argues convincingly for public meaning originalism, he implicitly reaffirms judicial supremacy over interpretive disputes between the legislative and the executive branches. “McConnell’s most significant contribution to the scholarly literature is his thorough evaluation of Article II with a […]
  • “Once More Unto the Breach” — Hadley Arkes

    by James Wilson Institute on March 7, 2022
    In a response to Ed Whelan’s critique of “On Overturning Roe,” Prof. Arkes insists that the moral argument against Roe is the only logical one for judges who believe in the deep wrong of abortion. The pro-life cause rests on objective moral truths, not on value judgments, and as a result does not require judges […]
  • “Breaking the Sotomayor Mold” — Kody W. Cooper

    by James Wilson Institute on February 25, 2022
    Kody Cooper argues that a new justice in the mold of Sotomayor would fail to pass the “test of truth” when it comes to abortion, religious liberty, and takings. Some excerpts: “In the wake of Justice Breyer’s retirement announcement, Democrats are divided over whether President Biden should appoint a more conciliatory ‘bridge-builder’ who will look for opportunities […]
  • “Originalism Is Not Enough” — Hadley Arkes in Claremont Review of Books

    by James Wilson Institute on February 17, 2022
    In a review of Drakeman’s The Hollow Core of Constitutional Theory: Why We Need the Framers, Prof. Hadley Arkes contends that, when debating moral issues such as abortion and freedom of religion, judges should look beyond the text of the Constitution to the principles underpinning it. The Framers themselves disagreed on constitutional interpretation, and it’s […]
  • “On Overturning Roe” — Hadley Arkes in First Things

    by James Wilson Institute on February 15, 2022
    Comparing abortion to slavery, Hadley Arkes explains how conservative jurisprudence has obscured the central issue of abortion–the killing of small lives–by referring the decision to the States. Though popular, such traditional conservative reasoning fails to address what the States should do if Roe is overturned. Conservatives should go further. The Fourteenth Amendment expressly gives Congress […]
  • “Waiting for Dobbs” — Hadley Arkes in The Catholic Thing

    by James Wilson Institute on February 9, 2022
    Professor Arkes anticipates what might happen if the Supreme Court seeks to take “the low door under the whole” in the Dobbs case—sustaining the law in Mississippi while affecting not to overrule Roe v. Wade. Some excerpts: “The odds are that the statute in Mississippi will be sustained by a Court now containing Amy Coney […]
  • “Recovering a Conservative State Legal Theory” — Jeffrey Bristol in Anchoring Truths and Law & Liberty

    by James Wilson Institute on January 28, 2022
    Responding to Holden Tanner and Jesse Merriam, Jeffrey Bristol argues that state courts limit themselves by adopting the same sort of originalism as federal courts–and that Erie, far from wrenching common law reasoning from the states, actually returned state courts to power.  Some excerpts: “It may seem surprising to say that originalism ignores state power. […]