Chicago's Best Ideas

Geoffrey Stone, "When Contraception Was a Crime"

Geoffrey Stone (Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School) explores the history of laws against contraception, including discussion of those who struggled against those laws, how the tide turned, and what role the courts played in that process. This talk was recorded on February 19, 2013, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series.


58:04 minutes (53.17 MB)

David Strauss, "Campaign Finance First Principles"

What limits should the government be allowed to impose on people who want to give money to a political campaign, or spend money in support of a campaign? The question is complex, difficult, and very important. Limits on the way money can be used to support candidates can undermine democracy - but so can the lack of limits.


58:20 minutes (53.42 MB)

David Strauss, "Campaign Finance First Principles"

What limits should the government be allowed to impose on people who want to give money to a political campaign, or spend money in support of a campaign? The question is complex, difficult, and very important. Limits on the way money can be used to support candidates can undermine democracy - but so can the lack of limits.

Jonathan Masur, "Well-Being Analysis vs. Cost-Benefit Analysis"

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is the primary tool used by policymakers to inform administrative decisionmaking. Yet its methodology of converting preferences (often hypothetical ones) into dollar figures, then using those dollar figures as proxies for quality of life, creates systemic errors so large as to deprive the tool of value.

Jonathan Masur, "Well-Being Analysis vs. Cost-Benefit Analysis"

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is the primary tool used by policymakers to inform administrative decisionmaking. Yet its methodology of converting preferences (often hypothetical ones) into dollar figures, then using those dollar figures as proxies for quality of life, creates systemic errors so large as to deprive the tool of value.


65:23 minutes (59.87 MB)

Lee Fennell, "Property in Housing"

The question of how to structure and package the residential experience is a deeply interesting and difficult one. How physically large or small should residential holdings be? How densely should they be clustered? Should spaces for working, recreating, cooking, and bathing be contained within the private residential unit, shared with other households, or procured a la carte?


58:00 minutes (53.11 MB)

Alison LaCroix, "The Lost History of the Spending Power"

The Supreme Court’s decision in the healthcare case has brought new prominence to Congress’s power to tax and spend for the general welfare under Article I, section 8, clause 1. Legislation under the spending power is often regarded as an artifact of the New Deal period. But the spending power has a longer history dating from the early nineteenth century.


38:37 minutes (35.36 MB)

Alison LaCroix, "The Lost History of the Spending Power"

The Supreme Court’s decision in the healthcare case has brought new prominence to Congress’s power to tax and spend for the general welfare under Article I, section 8, clause 1. Legislation under the spending power is often regarded as an artifact of the New Deal period. But the spending power has a longer history dating from the early nineteenth century.

Laura Weinrib, "Free Speech When Constitutionalism Was Unpopular"

In the mid-1930s, the future of judicial review was uncertain.  Politicians, social activists, and even legal academics denounced the federal judiciary’s hostility toward New Deal legislation as a threat to democratic progress and economicrecovery.  In the face of President Roosevelt’s “court-packing plan” and competing proposals to curb judicial power, conservative lawyers sough


47:08 minutes (43.15 MB)

Lee Fennell, "Property in Housing"

The question of how to structure and package the residential experience is a deeply interesting and difficult one. How physically large or small should residential holdings be? How densely should they be clustered? Should spaces for working, recreating, cooking, and bathing be contained within the private residential unit, shared with other households, or procured a la carte?