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2016 Hayek Lecture Featuring Philip Hamburger

Tuesday June 2016


Philip Hamburger Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law, Columbia University

U.S. administrative law, the body of law that governs the activities of public administrative agencies, touches virtually every area of American life. Debates over administrative law—widely viewed as an inevitable outgrowth of modern society—have focused on the details: what, and how much, administrative law is ideal? But few observers have dared to question whether administrative law should even exist.

Is Administrative Law Unlawful?, Manhattan Institute 2016 Hayek Book Prize winner Philip Hamburger’s contrarian masterpiece, argues that the rise of administrative law, far from being a benign necessity of contemporary government, marks a return to medieval despotism. U.S. administrative law, explains Hamburger, the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia University Law School, is rooted in the practices of Europe’s absolute monarchs, where royal edict regularly usurped the law of the land, as established by parliaments and courts.

America’s founders were well acquainted with such abuses: with its elaborate checks and balances, the U.S. Constitution was designed to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of unelected, unaccountable cliques. Please join us for MI’s annual Hayek Lecture, as professor Hamburger, following in the footsteps of F.A. Hayek, sounds the alarm on this growing threat to American freedom and prosperity.

Political philosopher, Nobel laureate, and author of groundbreaking works such as The Road to Serfdom and The Constitution of Liberty, Friedrich Hayek was the key figure in the twentieth century revival of classical liberalism. The Hayek Lecture is delivered by the recipient of the Hayek Prize, which honors the book published within the past two years that best reflects Hayek’s vision of economic and individual liberty. The Hayek Prize, with its $50,000 award, is among the world’s most generous book prizes.