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The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radicallly Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom

Tuesday July 2008


Robert A. Levy Senior Fellow, Cato Institute, William H. Mellor, President & General Counsel, Institute for Justice
William H. Mellor President & General Counsel, Institute for Justice

How did we get from our Founders’ Constitution, which established limited government, to today’s Constitution, which endorses expanded government and curtails individual rights? That journey is the story of The Dirty Dozen—a book about 12 U.S. Supreme Court cases since the New Deal that radically changed the course of American history away from constitutional government.

Robert A. Levy and William H. Mellor explain how the “dirty dozen” cases have had a profound effect on the rule of law and the lives of ordinary Americans. While some of the cases are well known, others are often unfamiliar even to lawyers. Yet each had the effect of amending numerous provisions of the Constitution.

The authors argue that judicial activism has created new constitutional rights out of whole cloth and erased rights that are constitutionally protected. Unlike some who call for the judiciary to defer to legislative and executive authority, Levy and Mellor call for principled and consistent judicial engagement to restore proper respect for the Constitution as it was written.

Levy is the leading constitutional scholar at the nation’s most prominent libertarian think tank, and Mellor heads the nation’s most prominent libertarian nonprofit litigation organization. We hope you will join us for a discussion of their insightful new book.