February 05, 2009

The Dirty Dozen: Worst Supreme Court Cases

On Tuesday at the Independence Institute, a sold-out crowd listened to Chip Mellor, president of the Institute for Justice, outline the dozen worst Supreme Court decisions--and it was hard to narrow down to just 12--that threatened liberty, economic freedom, and misinterpreted or outright ignored the principles found in the Constitution.

Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, sat down with Mellor to discuss the book (podcast).

This was no exercise in legal jargon or bashing "judicial activism." Mellor's intent was to draw attention to Supreme Court decisions handed down since the era of the New Deal that have had--and continue to have--deleterious effects on our liberty, economic freedoms, and private property while imposing confiscatory and intrusive governmental power in nearly every aspect of Americans' daily lives.

To paraphrase, there are no longer islands of government in a sea of liberty, but rather islands of liberty in a sea of goverment power. And those islands are fast disappearing.

Mellor criticized the modern law schools' approach to train "technocrats" who are able to navigate through the waters of modern jurisprudence while completely ignoring the underlying principles found in the Constitution. Some of the cases in the book are well known--Kelo v. City of New London--while others languish in obscurity, buried by subsequent decisions that Mellor argues essentially amounts to bad precedent that enables the government's further encroachment on our personal liberties.

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