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Featured Discussion: Epstein and Presser

I'm also thrilled to announce that Professor Epstein, with his Wall Street Journal column hot off the presses, has agreed to contribute here to our featured discussion on the future of the Court in light of Roberts' appointment. He'll be exchanging views with Northwestern's Stephen Presser.

Professors Epstein and Presser are both among the top thinkers in issues of interest to those of us at Point of Law. Professor Epstein is undoubtedly one of the most distinguished scholars in the field of civil justice: he edits one of the top torts casebooks. He's long been attuned to the problems of the litigation explosion; his critiques in Modern Products Liability Law, first published in 1980, still ring true today. More recently, Professor Epstein has authored a paper for the Manhattan Institute focusing on the problems of the modern class action.

Stephen Presser is one of the leading scholars in the field of corporations, with a particular emphasis on shareholder liability for corporate debts. He too is the author of a leading casebook in the field, An Introduction to the Law of Business Organizations. And Professor Presser has also written a recent monograph for the Manhattan Institute, his exploring features of European products liability law that Americans should import.

On top of their expertise in civil justice, Professors Epstein and Presser are two of the nation's leading constitutional scholars. Professor Epstein, with a series of books on the subject dating back to his classic Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain, has long argued that "judicial activism" is a misnomer, and that courts should readily use judicial review to overturn overreaching government action. Professor Presser, who edits the preeminent legal history casebook, is perhaps best known for making what historian Forrest McDonald has called "a compelling case that the original understanding of the Constitution was that religion, morality, and law were inextricably connected" (see his Recapturing the Constitution), but he also relies on natural law jurisprudence to defend a strong role for courts in striking down government action. Both Epstein and Presser defend the Supreme Court's infamous Lochner decision, which struck down a state maximum-hours regulation. So, notwithstanding Professor Epstein's reputation as a "libertarian" and Professor Presser's as a "traditionalist," they share a lot of common ground.

I hope our readers will enjoy the coming exchange between these highly distinguished scholars.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.