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March 30, 2012

Spotlight on public law: Martin Redish

by dan rodriguez

Today is very special for the Northwestern Law School as we celebrate Prof. Marty Redish’s remarkable career.  In response to a simple “what are you up to?,” Marty offers a predictably thorough description of his jam-packed scholarly agenda:

1.  I recently completed a book entitled “The Adversary First Amendment: Free Expression and the Foundations of American Democracy,” which will be published by Stanford University Press, probably early next winter. The book develops a theory of free expression grounded in the theory of “adversary democracy”, which views democratic theory as nothing more than a means of controlled competition between competing viewpoints and interests. While it recognizes the importance of compromise, it views such compromise as merely the mutual promotion of separate individual interests, rather than a joint pursuit of some vague notion of “the common good.” The book critiques the works of more cooperative or collective free speech theorists (e.g., Alexander Meiklejohn and Robert Post), and then applies the “adversary” free speech theory to the subjects of commercial speech, campaign finance and corruption, and expressive anonymity.

2. Next week I will be delivering the Dunwody Distinguished Lecture at the University of Florida Law School; there I will critique established theories of constitutional interpretation, particularly the various categories of originalism and non-textualism, and propose as a viable alternative an interpretive theory I label “controlled activism”, which combines “modest exclusionary textualism” (employing a “no brainer” form of present meaning textual interpretation as a screening device) with a form of principled normative inquiry, policed by A form of Wechslerian “neutral principles” analysis.

3.  My major project over (at least) the next two years is a new book,  to be entitled “American Constitutionalism: The Role of an Independent Judiciary in Democratic Theory.” The book will advance a theory of American Constitutionalism designed to employ a prophylacticly protected judiciary as a means of preserving the democratic system against governmental deception  of the electorate (“macro” constitutionalism) and assuring that individuals may be coerced solely under a consistently applied principled system grounded in the rule of law. The book will argue in favor of the “democratic paradox”—i.e., that democracy may be preserved only through the use of formalistic prophylactic protections of judicial independence. The book will also critique the fallacious theories of departmentalism and popular constitutionalism.

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