Friday, July 6, 2012

Legal Historians in the Op-ed Pages: Forbath on the "Workingman's Constitution"

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Continuing our coverage of historians' responses to the Supreme Court's Affordable Care Act decision (and related to Greg's recent musings on historians and advocacy), here's a link to a New York Times op-ed by William Forbath (University of Texas, Austin).

"[I]n much the same way that the conservative court of the 1930s forced Franklin D. Roosevelt and his allies to construct the constitutional foundations of the New Deal state," Forbath writes, "today’s court challenges the White House, the Democrats and the liberal legal community to reassert a constitutional vision of a national government empowered 'to promote the general Welfare' and — in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s terse formula — 'to regulate the national economy in the interest of those who labor to sustain it.'"

They won't have to look far, Forbath argues. "[T]here is a venerable rival to constitutional laissez-faire: a rich distributive tradition of constitutional law and politics, rooted in the framers’ generation."

Read on here, at the NYT's "Campaign Stops" blog.

Hat tip: RBB