Judicial Engagement and the Constitution: How Liberty Can Survive the Onslaught of Government--Chip Mellor

Event Date: 
April 23, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Acton Institute
98 E. Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Street parking is available. There are also paid parking lots nearby. Please enter building off of Sheldon Blvd.

For more information, contact John Morton at (616) 454 -3080 or jmorton@acton.org

Never in recent history has the need for constitutional limits on government power been more urgent.  Without such limits our liberties will depend on the self-restraint of government officials.  Ensuring that constitutional limits are enforced is the duty of the courts.  But over recent decades, the courts have increasingly abdicated their responsibility.  It’s no coincidence that government excesses have grown exponentially during that time.  Only principled judicial engagement will begin to restore appropriate constitutional constraints.  Chip Mellor expounds on what judicial engagement means, how it differs from judicial restraint and judicial activism.   Does America have an “activist” judiciary that constantly involves itself in policy disputes best left to the other branches? Several Supreme Court justices have publicly expressed that view recently, but they are dead wrong.  Indeed, given the breathtaking abuses of power we have seen by other branches lately, the prospect of judges becoming even less vigilant about protecting citizens from overweening government should be deeply troubling.

William H. (Chip) Mellor serves as President and General Counsel of the Institute for Justice (IJ), which he co-founded in 1991. IJ pursues strategic public interest litigation that combines courtroom advocacy with award-winning media relations, activism, and strategic research to secure constitutional protection for individual rights. Prior to founding IJ, Mellor served as president of the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, a nationally recognized “think tank” located in San Francisco. Mellor also served in the Reagan Administration as Deputy General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations in the Department of Energy, and from 1979 to 1983, he practiced public interest law with Mountain States Legal Foundation in Denver.  Mellor received his J.D. from the University of Denver School of Law in 1977.  He graduated from Ohio State University in 1973. Mellor sits on the board of directors for the Donors Capital Fund, and the Kern Family Foundation.  He is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and a 2012 recipient of the Bradley Prize.