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New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism
Holmes at desk

Justice Holmes and the Empty Constitution

Ayn Rand once observed that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. “has had the worst philosophical influence on American law.” In this New Ideal article from October 6, 2021 (read by Alex Wigger), Tom Bowden examines the influence of Holmes’s iconic dissent in the case of Lochner v. New York. “Holmes believed that the Supreme Court presides over an empty Constitution—empty of purpose, of moral content, of enduring meaning—bereft of any embedded principles defining the relationship between man and the state,” Bowden observes. “This distinctively Holmesian view, novel in 1905, is today’s orthodoxy.”

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