Judicial Engagement Symposium

Judicial Engagement Symposium

In March 2012 the Center for Judicial Engagement joined with the George Mason Law Review to hold a symposium on the role of judges in enforcing the Constitution. The event brought together practitioners and scholars to debate and discuss what role judges have in interpreting and enforcing the U.S. Constitution. Over 100 people joined with us to listen to and engage with the panels, and the George Mason Law Review published a special edition of their law journal featuring the submissions of many participants.


The first panel explored role of the courts in enforcing property rights. Former IJ attorney Elizabeth Price Foley moderated the discussion between Professors David Bernstein, Kurt Lash, and Eric Claeys.

The second panel explored the role of judicial engagement in enforcing limits on government power. Professor Neomi Rao moderated the discussion between Professors Stephen Presser, Sanford Levinson, and Douglas Kmiec.

The third panel explored the differences between judicial activism and restraint versus judicial engagement. Former IJ attorney Steve Simpson moderated the discussion between Former Center for Judicial Engagement Director Clark Neily and Professors Mark Tushnet and Nelson Lund.


Panel 1: Judicial Engagement in Enforcing Property Rights
Panel 2: Enforcing Limits on Government Power
Panel 3: Judicial “Activism” & “Restraint” vs. “Engagement”

Papers generated by this event

Randy E. Barnett, Judicial Engagement Through the Lens of Lee Optical.

David E. Bernstein, The Conservative Origins of Strict Scrutiny.

Kurt T. Lash, Federalism, Individual Rights, and Judicial Engagement.

Eric R. Claeys, Judicial Engagement and Civic Engagement: Four Case Studies.

Elizabeth Price Foley, Judicial Engagement, Written Constitutions, and the Value of Preservation: The Case of Individual Rights.

Richard A. Epstein, Judicial Engagement with the Affordable Care Act: Why Rational Basis Analysis Falls Short.

Stephen B. Presser, Will the Supreme Court Be Faithful to Its Oath to Uphold the Constitution in the Obamacare Case?.

Sanford Levinson, Judicial Engagement in Enforcing Limits on Government Power.

Douglas W. Kmiec, Engaging Human Nature in Support of Judicial Engagement. (2012).

Nelson Lund, Stare Decisis and Originalism: Judicial Disengagement from the Supreme Court’s Errors.

Mark Tushnet, From Judicial Restraint to Judicial Engagement: A Short Intellectual History.

Clark Neily, Judicial Engagement Means No More Make-Believe Judging.