The central mission of The Classical Liberal Constitution is to go against the grain of modern Supreme Court jurisprudence and much of the legal scholarship that has grown up around that body of work. The motivation for this argument should be apparent from the major disarray that infects every area of modern American life: steady decline in the average standard of living; constant battles over debt limits and fiscal cliffs; uncertainty over key elements of the tax structure; massive overregulation of the most productive sources in society (health care and financial services); government-inspired brinksmanship in labor negotiations; and runaway redistribution programs that undercut the economic production that makes these programs viable. All of these major programs could not have happened under the original constitutional structure, faithfully interpreted in light of changed circumstances. The confluence of these events cannot be dismissed as the result of random noise or simple mistakes. Rather, they are the ultimate consequence of the profound progressive break with the classical liberal tradition that was the guiding genius in the drafting and interpretation of the Constitution.
(From the book
[An] important and learned book. (Gary L. McDowell Times Literary Supplement
has now produced a full-scale and full-throated defense of his unusual vision of the Constitution. This book is his magnum opus…Much of his book consists of comprehensive and exceptionally detailed accounts of how constitutional provisions ought to be understood…All of Epstein’s particular discussions are instructive, and most of them are provocative…Epstein has written a passionate, learned, and committed book. (Cass R. Sunstein New Republic
About the Author
Richard A. Epstein is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Law and Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.