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Randy E. Barnett is a lawyer, law professor at Boston University, and legal theorist in the United States, noted for his libertarian theory of law and his work on contract theory and constitutional law and theory.
After attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusettss, Barnett worked as a State's Attorney (prosecutor) in Chicago, Illinois. Barnett initially taught at the Chicago-Kent College of Law of the Illinois Institute of Technology; he later became the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Law at Boston University. Barnett has also twice been a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is a Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute. Barnett is noted for his work on constitutional law, contract theory and on libertarian theories of law. His book,The Structure of Liberty was awarded the Ralph Gregory Elliot Book in 1998.
The Structure of Liberty
Main article: The Structure of Liberty
The Structure of Liberty is a book by legal theorist Randy Barnett which offers a libertarian theory of law and politics. Barnett calls his theory the liberal conception of justice, emphasizing the relationship between legal libertarianism and classical liberalism.
Barnett has also done work on the theory of the United States Constitution, culminating in his book Restoring the Lost Constitution. He argues for an original meaning theory of constitutional interpretation and argues that this leads to a presumption of liberty.
Barnett is also a lead lawyer for the plaintiffs in Raich v. Ashcroft, which won a victory before the Ninth Circuit, ruling that federal action against legal marijuana patients violated the commerce clause.
Barnett is also known for his work on the history and original meaning of the Second and Ninth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Barnett is a leading proponent of the view that the "rights retained by the people" in the Ninth Amendment are judicially enforceable (thru the presumption of liberty). He has also advanced the view that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to bear arms.
Barnett is also known for is work in contract theory. In that field he has advanced a distinctive theory of contract formation that emphasizes the intention to be bound as the key to contract law. He is also known for his work on the idea of a default rule, i.e. a rule of contract law that binds the parties if their contract does not cover the eventuality or condition that is the subject of the default rule.
- Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty (2002)
- The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law (1998)
- Contract Cases and Doctrine (1995, 2ed 1999)
- Perspectives on Contract Law (1995, 2ed 2001)
- Randy Barnett, Justice Kennedy's Libertarian Revolution: Lawrence v. Texas (Social Science Research Network 2003).
- Libertarian theories of law
- Classical liberalism
- Contract theory
- Default rule
- Philosophy of law
- Lawrence v. Texas
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