natural rights

Waiting for Dobbs

Hadley Arkes recalls that day, back in 1986, when Justice Byron White, one of the original dissenters in Roe v. Wade, startled Justice John Paul Stevens by suggesting that he too could accept Roe and a “right to abortion” in some form. Stevens seemed genuinely baffled. What White was offering was an understanding that would keep Roe v. Wade as a shell, while the substance was removed. Professor Arkes tries to reconstruct that argument here as an anticipation of what might happen if the Supreme Court seeks to take “the low door under the whole” in the Dobbs case—sustaining the law in Mississippi while affecting not to overrule Roe v. Wade.

Recovering a Conservative State Legal Theory

Jeffrey Bristol engages with Holden Tanner and Jesse Merriam about the role of historical originalism in state and federal structure. He argues that the federal constitution is unique from other nations in that it retains a long, public discourse and history that has matured with fundamental perception and that has been vital to both its conception and meaning.

And All the Students Said, “Amen”

By offering a voluntary prayer, the government introduces its students to religion in a way that is not coercive or intrusive. It is, rather, a traditional acknowledgement of religion, even if it simply constitutes a recognition of the theistic origins of our unalienable rights.

Anchoring Truths
Anchoring Truths is a James Wilson Institute project
The James Wilson Institute’s Mission is to restore to a new generation of lawyers, judges, and citizens the understanding of the American Founders about the first principles of our law and the moral grounds of their own rights.
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