Cato Constitution Day Conference

September 19, 2013 | By DAMIEN SCHIFF

Tuesday I had the good fortune to attend Cato’s Constitution Day Conference.  The conference consisted of several panels of legal experts discussing the leading liberty-related cases of the 2012 Supreme Court Term, as well as a discussion of next Term’s potential blockbuster decisions.  Professor Ilya Somin of George Mason spoke about the 2012 Term’s three property rights cases, viz., Horne v. Department of Agriculture, Arkansas Game & Fish v. United States, and Koontz v. St. John’s River Water Management District.  Professor Somin noted that PLF’s victory in Koontz may well prove to be the most important property rights decision of the Roberts Court.  Other issues discussed by the day’s panels included patent law, the Alien Tort Statute, class action certification, and the gay marriage cases.  The conference concluded with a splendid talk by Judge David Sentelle of the D.C. Circuit.  Judge Sentelle’s remarks focused on the Press Clause of the First Amendment, specifically whether the clause protects a class of persons or rather a mode of communication.  Judge Sentelle convincingly argued that the proper interpretation is the latter.  To interpret the clause otherwise would create a privileged class of persons which seems rather inconsistent with the Constitution’s ban on titles of nobility and its mandate of equality before the law.

The Cato Supreme Court Review was also released in hard copy.  It contains a number of interesting articles, which I hope to blog on once the volume becomes available online.  In the meantime, check out my article on Sackett v. EPA, published in last year’s volume.