In a recent SCOTUSblog symposium marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Alexander Bickel's The Least Dangerous Branch, Roger Pilon argued that the twin themes that emerged from that seminal volume -- the "countermajoritarian difficulty" and the "passive virtues" -- were especially influential in shaping the constitutional thought of Bickel's colleague, Robert Bork, who in turn, whatever their differences, was a seminal figure in shaping the modern conservative legal movement, especially through the Federalist Society. But those ideas led also to a response within that movement, from libertarians concerned as much about the "majoritarian difficulty," all of which has led to a spirited debate on the Right over the nation's "First Principles." Contributing also to the SCOTUSblog symposium, Adam J. White noted the Madisonian and Burkean elements in Bickel's writings. Drawing on what he sees as Bickel's "principled prudence," he cautioned "not to press the Court to recognize rights divorced from principles rooted in national experience," thus affording us a good contrast for the discussion at hand.
- Dr. Roger Pilon, Cato Institute
- Mr. Adam J. White, Boyden Gray & Associates
Call begins at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
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