Debate on judicial activism versus judicial restraint

March 28

On Monday, the GW Law student chapter of the Federalist Society hosted a debate on judicial activism versus judicial restraint between the Institute for Justice’s Clark Neily and me. Of course, we didn’t actually call it a debate about judicial activism versus restraint. Neily rebranded the debate “judicial engagement versus judicial abdication.” And not wanting to be left out of the rebranding game, I re-relabeled the debate as a choice between “judicial arrogance” and “judicial awareness.” If you want to watch my argument for judicial awareness — and Neily’s spirited case for judicial arrogance — you can watch the video here. From the page, just click “play,” and then you can click to maximize the size of the picture. Neily starts at about 9:50; I start around 28:20; we then go back and worth starting around 44:00; and the Q&A starts at the 50:30 point.

It was a fun event, and we were particularly honored by the appearance in the audience of our own Randy Barnett and friend-of-the-VC Ilya Shapiro.

Orin Kerr is the Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor at The George Washington University Law School, where he has taught since 2001. He teaches and writes in the area of criminal procedure and computer crime law. Kerr is a former law clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy at the U.S. Supreme Court. From 1998 to 2001, he was a Trial Attorney in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. In 2013, Chief Justice Roberts appointed Kerr to a 3-year term on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. You can follow him on Twitter @orinkerr.
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Eugene Volokh | March 27