Neuborne proffers holistic reading of the Bill of Rights at Federalist Society convention

A 2004 article by Burt Neuborne, Inez Milholland Professor of Civil Liberties, was the subject of an engaging discussion on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at the Federalist Society's 2009 National Lawyers convention on November 13.

"The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm, the Reader Became the Book," from the Vanderbilt Law Review, is subtitled "Reading the Bill of Rights as a Poem." In the article, Neuborne says that the popular mode of analyzing the Bill of Rights—amendment by amendment, clause by clause, "in splendid isolation"—is flawed. Instead, he argues that the historic document is better read as a "structural whole," that there is a rhyme and reason for "why the First Amendment is first," and "why the Due Process Clause comes after the grand jury and self-incrimination clauses." Georgetown Law Professor Randy Barnett provided commentary, and Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit moderated the discussion.

Five others affiliated with the NYU School of Law participated at the Federalist Society's three-day annual convention, held in Washington, D.C. Visiting Professor of Law Richard Epstein; Roderick Hills, William T. Comfort, III Professor of Law; Geoffrey Miller, Stuyvesant P. Comfort Professor of Law; Professor Catherine Sharkey; and Michael Livermore, executive director of the Law School's Institute for Policy Integrity, each took part in panel discussions, with topics ranging from redistribution of wealth to cost-benefit analysis in environmental policy.

Posted on November 17, 2009

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