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Professor of law at Boston University
Randy Barnett

Randy Evan Barnett (born 5 February 1952, in Chicago) is an American lawyer, law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and contracts, and legal theorist. He writes about the libertarian theory of law and contract theory, constitutional law and jurisprudence.

Home Page

Randy E. Barnett
Sections include: biographical profile, latest book and other publications, and links to his related web resources
Randy E. Barnett | Georgetown Law
Faculty page, includes picture, profile, scholarship and news coverage


5 Feb 1952, Randy Evan Barnett, in Chicago, Illinois


Laissez Faire Books
Barnett, the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Law at Boston University, has written extensively on legal topics relating to liberty. His latest book is Restoring the Lost Constitution. His two-volume anthology The Rights Retained by the People: The History and Meaning of the Ninth Amendment (1989, 1993) did much to help revive interest in that long-forgotten but important constitutional bulwark of our liberties. ... After graduating from Harvard Law School, he worked as a criminal prosecutor in Chicago. He taught at Northwestern University School of Law and Harvard Law School before accepting his current position.


Cato Institute, Senior Fellow

Includes biography, lists as well as text of many of Spooner's writings and correspondence, scholarly articles about Spooner and links to other resources
Related Topic: Lysander Spooner

Web Pages

Randy E. Barnett | Cato Institute
Includes profile, photograph and links to writings and multimedia resources
Randy E. Barnett is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and contracts. ... In 2008, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Constitutional Studies. In 2004, Professor Barnett appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue the medical cannabis case of Gonzalez v. Raich. He lectures internationally and appears frequently on radio and television programs ... Professor Barnett's scholarship includes more than eighty articles and reviews, as well as eight books ...
Randy E. Barnett - Online Library of Liberty
Includes short profile and link to a "Liberty Matters" (an online discussion forum) event led by Barnett
Randy E. Barnett is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and contracts, and is Director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution.


Randy E. Barnett, Professor of Law
Boston University School of Law; includes books, articles, essays and other writings (1977-2001)


A Bogus Libertarian Defense of War, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Oct 2007
Criticizes Randy Barnett's Wall Street Journal op-ed "Libertarians and the War" (17 Jul 2007) and his follow-up post "Antiwar Libertarians and the Reification of the State" (20 Jul 2007) at the Volokh Conspiracy blog
Randy E. Barnett, a law professor at Georgetown University and a long-time libertarian legal scholar, wrote that libertarians can and do support the invasion and occupation of Iraq ... Barnett's mission is to show that support is not inconsistent. He is mistaken ... Barnett writes,
While all libertarians accept the principle of self-defense, and most accept the role of the U.S. government in defending U.S. territory, libertarian first principles of individual rights and the rule of law tell us little about what constitutes appropriate and effective self-defense after an attack ...
Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution [PDF], by Murray N. Rothbard, Cato Journal, 1982
Examines the principles of tort law, how to determine what is just property and how to deal with invasions of property such as air pollution
Randy Barnett's rebuttal, however, is conclusive. Barnett points out, first, that most unsuccessful attempts at invasion result nevertheless in "successful" though lesser invasion of person or property, and would therefore be prosecutable under tort law ... Furthermore, as Barnett concludes, potential victims would not be prevented under libertarian law from defending themselves from attempts at crime. As Barnett says, it is justifiable for a victim or his agents to repel an overt act that has been initiated against him, and that in fact is what an attempt at crime is all about.
On the Origins of the Modern Libertarian Legal Movement [PDF], by Roger Pilon, Chapman Law Review, 2013
Historical survey of libertarian influences on constitutional and other areas of law, from the mid-1970s to recent decisions
Thus a young Harvard Law student, Randy Barnett, himself a philosophy undergraduate major at Northwestern, was exploring the criminal law side of things with a conference he organized on the subject and an important essay on restitution that followed in 1977 in Ethics, published by the University of Chicago ... At a second ABA convention showcase program, this one in 1991 celebrating the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights, Randy Barnett and I addressed both of those issues—both the powers and the rights issues—in speeches we gave on "The Forgotten Ninth and Tenth Amendments."


Keeping Libertarians Inside the Tent: Alienation avoidance, National Review Online, 22 Nov 2002
Responds to New York Times 16 Nov 2002 op-ed by John Miller complaining that Libertarians are "Democratic Party operatives" by offering suggestions that would make the Republican candidates more appealing to libertarian voters
I read with great interest John Miller's op-ed in the New York Times, "A Third Party on the Right" in which he complains about the close races that have been tipped to the Democrats by those voting for the Libertarian-party candidate ... I am not a libertarian who advises others to vote Libertarian ... Supporting rather than opposing state choice on this issue would make the Republican party far more libertarian than the drug-war-mongering Democrats without having to support legalization. If Republicans added this to their federalism concerns, they would attract rather than lose votes to the Libertarian party.
Kennedy's Libertarian Revolution: Lawrence's reach, National Review Online, 10 Jul 2003
Comments on the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas which deemed sodomy laws to be unconstitutional and in particular on Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion
The more one ponders the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas, the more revolutionary it seems. Not because it recognizes the rights of gays and lesbians to sexual activity free of the stigmatization of the criminal law—though this is of utmost importance ... Recognizing a robust "presumption of liberty" might also enable the court to transcend the trench warfare over judicial appointments. Both Left and Right would then find their favored rights protected under the same doctrine. When the Court plays favorites with liberty ..., it loses rather than gains credibility with the public.
Spooner, Lysander (1808-1881), The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
Lysander Spooner was a political and legal theorist, a writer, and an abolitionist. Born in rural New England, he was raised as one of nine children and left home to live in Worcester, Massachusetts, where, in 1833, he began studying law. He served his apprenticeship in the offices of John Davis ... Until his death in 1887 at the age of 79, Spooner eked out an impoverished existence as a writer, activist, and legal theorist. ... His reputation as an individualist anarchist and his opposition to all forms of oppression and injustice have made him a hero to all libertarians.

Books Authored

Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty, 2003
Partial contents: The Fiction of "We the People" - Constitutional Legitimacy without Consent - Natural Rights as Liberty Rights - Constitutional Interpretation - Constitutional Construction - Judicial Review - The Presumption of Liberty
The Rights Retained by the People: The History and Meaning of the Ninth Amendment
    by Randy Barnett (editor), 1989
Partial contents: "Higher law" Background of American Constitutional Law - Forgotten Ninth Amendment - Are There "Certain rights ... retained by the people"? - Natural Rights and the Ninth Amendment - History and Meaning of the Ninth Amendment
The Rights Retained by the People: The Ninth Amendment and Constitutional Interpretation, Volume II
    by Randy Barnett (editor), 1993
Partial contents: Ninth Amendment: Inkblot or Another Hard Nut to Crack? - Reasons, Rhetoric, and the Ninth Amendment - The Problems of Constitutional Interpretation - Righting an Unwritten Constitution - The Natural Rights Basis of the Ninth Amendment
The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law, 1998
Partial contents: Liberty vs. License - Using Resources - The Liberal Conception of Justice - The Partiality Problem - The Incentive Problem - The Compliance Problem - The Problem of Enforcement Error - Fighting Crime Without Punishment
Related Topic: Rule of Law

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Randy Barnett" as of 16 Apr 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.