It has become commonplace in American political discourse for Christian evangelicals to assert that the United States was founded as a "Christian nation" and that in recent decades secularists have gained control and distorted our nation's founding traditions and values. In this lecture, Professor Geoffrey Stone examines the beliefs of the Framers on this question.
Without question, the most distinctive feature of the modern social democratic state is the rise of administrative agencies, which at the federal level function as a shadowy Fourth Branch of government that fits uneasily into our constitutional scheme of separation of powers, and which at the state level oversee vast swaths of economic activity.
This talk was presented as the University of Chicago's 2008 Nora and Edward Ryerson Lecture. The Ryerson Lectures grew out of a 1972 bequest to the University by Nora and Edward L. Ryerson, a former Chairman of the Board. The University's faculty selects each Ryerson Lecturer based on a consensus that a particular scholar has made research contributions of lasting significance.
At a time when so many different religious fundamentalisms are coming to the fore and demanding legal recognition, this talk will seek to vindicate feminist fundamentalism, defined as an uncompromising commitment to the equality of the sexes as intense and at least as worthy of respect as, for example, a religiously or culturally based commitment to female subordination or fixed sex roles.
Why have we taken so few precautions in the face of threatening climate change? This CBI talk focuses, first, on the difficulty of dealing with a long-off threat in our political system. The question is how voters and their politicians can be encouraged to care about problems that can be deferred for consideration by a different electorate or set of taxpayers – but at much higher cost.
Greenhouse gas reductions would cost some nations much more than others, and benefit some nations far less than others. Significant reductions would impose especially large costs on the United States, and recent projections suggest that the U.S. has relatively less to lose from climate change. In these circumstances, what does justice require the U.S. to do?
Richard Epstein is James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. This talk, which discusses Riegel v. Medtronic and Rowe v. New Hampshire, was recorded February 21, 2008 at the request of the Federalist Society.