Randy E. Barnett is a lawyer and legal theorist, and a Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute. He is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at Georgetown University.

Barnett writes about the libertarian theory of law and contract theory, constitutional law, and jurisprudence and is especially interested in the history and original meaning of the Second and Ninth Amendments to the United States Constitution. He fleshes out his argument for an originalist theory of constitutional interpretation in his book, Restoring the Lost Constitution, in which he advocates constitutional construction based on a presumption of liberty, instead of popular sovereignty.

Barnett is a strong proponent of federalism and has proposed a number of Constitutional Amendments to restore a more originalist balance of power, including a “Repeal Amendment,” which would give two‐​thirds of the states the power to repeal any federal law or regulation, and The Bill of Federalism, a list of ten proposed amendments drafted in response to the Tea Party movement’s emphasis on limiting federal powers.

In 1998, Barnett won the Ralph Gregory Elliot Book Award for his book, The Structure of Liberty, on “the liberal conception of justice,” his term for a libertarian theory of law and politics.

In 2004, he appeared before the Supreme Court to argue Gonzales v. Raich, claiming that federal action against legal marijuana patients violated the Commerce Clause. Though the case, then Ashcroft v. Raich, had won a victory before the Ninth Circuit, the Supreme Court ruled on June 6, 2005 that Congress had the power to prevent states from legalizing medical marijuana.

Randy E. Barnett is a lawyer and legal theorist, and a Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute and the Goldwater Institute. He also teaches constitutional law and contracts at Georgetown University Law Center.

In this lecture, given in 1991 in Aix‐​en‐​Provence, France, Barnett talks about justice, the law, and the relationship between the two. He starts by defining both terms and listing three possible relationships between the two: either there is no relationship at all between a rights‐​based concept of justice and the law, justice is higher than the law (or the law arises out of defined principles of justice), or justice is equal to the law and both concepts serve each other in practice. Barnett dismantles two of these possible relationships and concludes that legal orders must impart legitimacy on the law by making laws that are compatible with higher concepts of justice, but are not solely dependent on justice because the law is also reliant on convention in practice.

Note: This lecture was delivered to a mostly French‐​speaking audience. ‘Liberal’ in French should be considered to translate to ‘classical liberal’ or ‘libertarian’ in modern American parlance.