Aug 2, 2012

Posted in Uncategorized

Infographic: Overlapping the Top Liberal, Libertarian, and Conservative Supreme Court Opinions

Damon Root ranks the Top 10 Libertarian Supreme Court decisions:

  1. Buchanan v. Warley
  2. Lawrence v. Texas
  3. Schechter Poultry Corp v. United States
  4. Meyer v. Nebraska
  5. New York Times v. United States
  6. McDonald v. Chicago
  7. D.C. v. Heller
  8. Youngstown Sheet and Tube v. Sawyer
  9. Kyllo v. United States
  10. Pierce v. Society of Sisters

Ilya Somin would exclude Lawrence (because it involved a “liberty-infringing laws that [was] already on its way out and rarely enforced,” as well as Heller and McDonald, “because they will probably end up eliminating only very extreme forms of gun regulation that only a few jurisdictions have enacted.”

Often, libertarians are torn between liberals and conservatives, and sometimes can feel comfortable with neither. There is only one way to resolve this. Infographic.

This Venn Diagram may help break down these 10 cases.

In my mind, almost all mainstream conservatives and liberals, along with libertarians will agree with Buchanan v. Warley. Liberals and libertarians, but probably not many conservatives, will agree with Lawrence v. Texas, NY Times v. US, Kyllo (notwithstanding the fact that Scalia wrote it, over a dissent by Stevens, joined by Rehnquist, O’Connor, and Kennedy), and Youngstown (to the extent that it limits war powers). Conservatives would agree with libertarians about Meyer, Pierce, McDonald, Heller, and (for the most part) Schechter Poultry.

It is pretty evenly split. Libertarians find allies where they can.

Update: A commenter at Volokh argues that Meyer, unlike Pierce, may be accepted by liberals. I think that is fair. I generally associate Meyer and Pierce with the specter of Lochernism, and liberals seem to have a knee-jerk reaction to it. Though in truth, if we judge it based on jurisprudence, Meyer and Pierce would be solidly libertarian, as many conservatives also reject “Lochnerism.” I suppose the results vary if we look to the outcome or the reasoning.

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  • Ilya Somin

    I’m pretty sure most liberals accept Meyer and Pierce, even if only by way of pretending they had nothing to do with Lochner. The only Supreme Court justice to have expressed doubts about them in recent years is actually the conservative Scalia.

    • Yes, that makes sense about Meyer and Pierce. I have heard other conservatives (Nelson Lund, for example) oppose Pierce, though conservatives generally tend to favor things like school choice.

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  • David Boaz

    Doesn’t this chart make it look like Buchanan is the only libertarian decision? When in fact the point is that libertarians like all 10.

    • Thanks for the comment David. The way I see it is that Libertarians like all 10. Libertarians are joined by conservatives in liking Meyer, McDonald, Heller, Pierce, and Schechter. Libertarians are joined by liberals in liking Lawrence, NY Times, Kyllo, and Youngstown. Libertarians, Conservatives, and liberals all like Buchanan.

    • You know, three intersecting circles–one for libertarian, one for conservatives, and one for liberals, would have been more clear. Thanks for the comment.

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