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Timothy Sandefur joins us to talk about the U.S. Constitution. Which is the Constitution’s primary value: preserving liberty or promoting democracy?

Aaron Ross Powell
Director and Editor
Trevor Burrus
Research Fellow, Constitutional Studies

Timothy Sandefur is Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute. Sandefur has litigated several cases involving property rights, eminent domain, and regulatory takings. Sandefur is a graduate of Chapman University School of Law and Hillsdale College.

Jason Kuznicki is the editor of Cato Books and of Cato Unbound, the Cato Institute’s online journal of debate. His first book, Technology and the End of Authority: What Is Government For? (Palgrave, 2017) surveys western political theory from a libertarian perspective. Kuznicki was an assistant editor of the Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. He also contributed a chapter to libertarianism.org’s Visions of Liberty. He earned a PhD in history from Johns Hopkins University in 2005, where his work was offered both a Fulbright Fellowship and a Chateaubriand Prize.

Timothy Sandefur joins Trevor Burrus and Jason Kuznicki for a conversation about America’s founding documents: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.

Which is the Constitution’s primary value: liberty or democracy? Is it enough to tell lawmakers to just “go back to the Constitution” when Constitutional interpretation varies so wildly? What does the Constitution have to say about slavery? Individual rights? Voting rights?

Sandefur is a principal attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation and the author of the 2014 book The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty. He also heads the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Economic Liberty Project, which protects entrepreneurs against intrusive government regulation.

Show Notes and Further Reading:

Supreme Court Cases

John Locke, Second Treatise of Government

William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England

Akil Amar, America’s Unwritten Constitution

J. Harvey Wilkinson, Cosmic Constitutional Theory: Why Americans Are Losing Their Inalienable Right to Self‐​Governance