Idols of the Right: The Law-and-Economics Movement

Idols of the Right: The Law-and-Economics Movement

For the past two decades conservative legal theorists have propagated two right-wing approaches to law. Most public attention has focused on the theory of “original intent” as a guide to interpreting the Constitution. In the law schools, though, the theory of “Law-and-Economics” has had far greater impact. The law journals are filled with law-and-economics articles, and no law school believes itself respectable until it has at least one advocate of law-and-economics on its faculty.

Law-and-economics became prominent in the law schools in part because its message fit comfortably with the politics of the 1980s. President Reagan’s appointment of Richard Posner and Frank Easterbrook, prominent advocates of law-and-economics, to the federal courts symbolizes that fit. But the reasons for its influence go deeper.

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