Nov 8, 2021 • 53M

Timothy Sandefur on The Libertarian Constitution

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Bob Zadek
Bob talks about the issues that affect our lives on a daily basis from a purely libertarian standpoint. He believes in small government, fewer taxes, and greater personal freedom.<br /><br />America has lost its way, but it cannot and does not need to be reinvented. Our founders were correct about their approach to government, as were John Locke, Adam Smith and the other great political philosophers who influenced them. The country’s first principles are economic and social freedom, republicanism, the rule of law, and liberty. Bob believes we must take the best of our founding principles and work from them because a country without principles is just a landmass.
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Here's a thought experiment: If the Constitution were re-written according to modern libertarian standards, how would it be different? The idea of a "libertarian Constitution" may seem redundant – the Founders were forerunners of the classical liberals, who in turn paved the way for the libertarian movement.

The National Constitution Center, however, recently posed this challenge to a group of libertarian legal scholars, along with two other groups of scholars: one progressive, and one conservative.

Timothy Sandefur, along with his Cato colleague Ilya Shapiro and Brooklyn Law School professor Christina Mulligan, drafted their version of the Constitution to include additional protections of individual liberties (unsurprisingly). In hindsight, we can see that the founders were insufficiently wary of executive authority – except for perhaps George Mason. They left the door open for the erosion of the separation of powers, especially by the administrative state – something corrected in the proposed Libertarian Constitution. Furthermore, Sandefur et al.'s "Ellis Island Clause" would restore immigration to early 20th-century policies, and limit arbitrary federal restrictions on who can move to the United States.

I spent the hour with Sandefur – the Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation – expanding my sense of possibility, and exploring what we can learn from various state constitutions in working towards a more perfect union.

Be sure to follow Timothy on Twitter: @TimothySandefur and subscribe to the Goldwater Institute's newsletter.