On February 18, 2023, The Constitution Symposium at Bellarmine University will host Ilya Somin, Professor of Law at George Mason University, to speak on “Judicial Review, Political Ignorance, and Voting With Your Feet” drawing upon his books Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom and Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter:
Critics of judicial review have long argued that it inhibits the will of the people, expressed through laws and regulations enacted by democratically elected officials. Thus, they claim, it should be used sparingly, or perhaps even not at all. This critique implicitly assumes that the political freedom of the people is best expressed through ballot box voting. Judicial review must therefore be kept within strict bounds in order to avoid infringing on democratic self-government. Ilya Somin challenges that assumption and instead suggests that political choice is often best expressed through foot voting, rather than ballot-box voting. That, in turn, strengthens the case for strong judicial review in a range of areas.
People can vote with their feet through international migration, by choosing what jurisdiction to live in within a federal system, and by making decisions in the private sector. All three types can be enhanced by judicial review. Instead of a singular collective “will of the people,” foot voting enables individual members of the public to pursue a wide range of policy preferences. As a result, it allows far more people to live under policies that they prefer, and reduces the disadvantages faced by minorities. Strong judicial review can facilitate foot voting in a variety of ways, both by enforcing structural limits on government power, and by protecting individual rights.
Saturday, February 18, 2023 • 10:30 AM ET
Cralle Theater, Wyatt Center for the Arts • Bellarmine University
The event is free and open to the public.
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Ilya Somin is Professor of Law at George Mason University. His research focuses on constitutional law, property law, democratic theory, federalism, and migration rights. He is the author of Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom (Oxford University Press, 2020, revised and expanded edition, 2021), Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter (Stanford University Press, revised and expanded second edition, 2016), and The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain (University of Chicago Press, 2015, rev. paperback ed., 2016), coauthor of A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and co-editor of Eminent Domain: A Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Democracy and Political Ignorance has been translated into Italian and Japanese.is Professor of Law and Jamie L. Whitten Chair in Law and Government at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of Equal Citizenship, Civil Rights, and the Constitution: The Original Sense of the Privileges or Immunities Clause (Routledge 2015), and the co-author with Scott Gaylord and Lee Strang of the six-volume Federal Constitutional Law textbook series, serving as the chief author of the volumes on the Fourteenth Amendment and on executive power. Professor Green’s publications cover all aspects of Fourteenth Amendment history, including the legitimacy of Reconstruction, the Privileges or Immunities Clause as a requirement of equal civil rights, the Equal Protection Clause as an entitlement to protection from violence, and the Due Process Clause as a guarantee for the rule of law. His articles on constitutional theory have given particular attention to distinctions from philosophy such as the sense-reference distinction, stakes-sensitive epistemology, the semantic conception of truth, indexicals, and the ethics of oath-taking.
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The Constitution Symposium at Bellarmine University is committed to the rational analysis, interpretation, discussion, and debate of American constitutional principles, history, and practice. It is inspired by a vision of citizenship that is both fully dedicated to the American constitutional order and engaged in deliberation about the meaning of American constitutionalism.
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