Picture of Panel Discussion on Strategic Constitutional Litigation (MP3 download)

Panel Discussion on Strategic Constitutional Litigation (MP3 download)

By Dana Berliner, Steve Simpson, Deborah Simpson. Moderated by Larry Salzman.


Experienced constitutional litigators from the Institute for Justice discuss the purpose and methods of strategic constitutional litigation, its limits and its relationship to wider efforts at changing the culture.

A small number of bad ideas related to the philosophy of adjudication were accepted by judges during the 20th century and have made it hard to defend individual rights in court.  Because legal philosophy affects a culture through adjudication, the panelists champion strategic litigation as an important means of reversing that trend.

Using several case examples from the areas of campaign finance (free speech), eminent domain (property rights), and economic liberties, the panelists demonstrate that an integrated approach—using litigation, media relations, strategic research and activism—can change terms of debate about important legal questions.  They share their experience to show how strategic constitutional litigation can gain a hearing both in courts of law and in the court of public opinion for the principles of individualism and limited government.

Among other questions, the panelists will address: the value of incremental litigation over long periods of time; what happens when you lose—and how losses in court can be used to ignite a larger political debate; and what one can reasonably expect to achieve through strategic constitutional litigation. 

(MP3 download; 1 hr., 30 min., 61.3 MB)