Here's a thought experiment: If the Constitution were re-written according to modern libertarian standards, how would it be different? The idea of a "libertarian Constitution" may seem redundant – the Founders were forerunners of the classical liberals, who in turn paved the way for the libertarian movement.
The National Constitution Center, however, recently posed this challenge to a group of libertarian legal scholars, along with two other groups of scholars: one progressive, and one conservative.
Timothy Sandefur, along with his Cato colleague Ilya Shapiro and Brooklyn Law School professor Christina Mulligan, drafted their version of the Constitution to include additional protections of individual liberties (unsurprisingly). In hindsight, we can see that the founders were insufficiently wary of executive authority – except for perhaps George Mason. They left the door open for the erosion of the separation of powers, especially by the administrative state – something corrected in the proposed Libertarian Constitution. Furthermore, Sandefur et al.'s "Ellis Island Clause" would restore immigration to early 20th-century policies, and limit arbitrary federal restrictions on who can move to the United States.
This Sunday, I'll spend the hour with Sandefur – the Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation – expanding my sense of possibility, and exploring what we can learn from various state constitutions in working towards a more perfect union.