Economic Uncertainty and the Role of the Courts

February 26th, 2011

2011 Federalist Society Student Symposium

This panel will assess the role of the courts in an uncertain economic climate. Given the financial troubles plaguing the United States, how much emphasis should the judiciary place on the constitutional protection of private property? In a difficult economic climate, should a judge’s empathy for those in financial distress affect his rulings? If a state defaults on its obligations, what is the appropriate role of the courts? Should a refusal to pay constitute a violation of the Takings Clause? On a broader level, to what extent do interpretive methods have financial consequences? How much stock do investors put in stability in judicial reasoning when choosing where to place their money? Does our current law protect private property too much or not enough to maximize social utility, and should that be the standard by which we judge the legal protection of property rights? Does the experience of other countries offer any lessons in this area?

Paul G. Mahoney, University of Virginia School of Law
Paul Stephan, University of Virginia School of Law
Todd Zywicki, George Mason University School of Law

Judge Diane Sykes, 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals