Symposium Theme - The Resurgence of Economic Liberty

In keeping with Arizona’s long-held position at the forefront of promoting economic liberty and free market ideals, this year’s symposium will address “The Resurgence of Economic Liberty.”  The theme is inspired by Frédéric Bastiat’s maxim, “[l]ife, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws.  On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

The story of the American founding is inextricably linked with a quest for economic liberty.  From restrictions on trade to heavy taxes, tyranny in the economic sphere may be the most common unifying theme among the abuses of governmental power that sparked the American Revolution.  Economic theories played a central role in the debates leading to the Constitution’s ratification.  In discussing factions, relations among the states, congressional powers, and other fundamental constitutional themes, the Founders recognized the critical ways in which the ideas of liberty, justice, and equality could only be realized through an understanding of markets and related economic interests. 

Indeed, the “American Dream” itself can be characterized in terms of economic self- determination, including the right to choose a profession, earn a livelihood, and buy and sell on the same terms as fellow citizens. The twentieth century witnessed a vast expansion of governmental power, the creation of the administrative state, and a distortion of the U.S. constitutional scheme—all with a profound impact on economic liberty and welfare, and thus the way of life of millions of Americans. 

Today, Americans remain deeply divided over the meaning and importance of economic liberty, and, as a result, the topic often animates social discourse and decision-making at all levels of government. The question of how much the government ought to intrude into the economic realm is a fundamental fault line dividing American conservatives from libertarians, as well as adherents to various schools of thought within each of those political philosophies.  As a matter of constitutional interpretation, even staunch originalists may disagree with one another over the extent to which the nation’s charter protects economic liberty.

The Symposium’s panels will focus on the legal and philosophical roots of economic liberty and explore how those roots should inform jurisprudence and political thought in addressing contemporary issues.  The panels will delve deeply into first principles underlying our constitutional scheme as well as explore their application to cutting-edge technologies, regulatory schemes, and business models.  We will challenge attendees to deepen their understanding of the relationship between economic liberty and legal rights, and to test personal economic beliefs against commitments to originalism and the rule of law.


FrIday Evening Keynote - NYU Law Prof. Richard A. Epstein



Prof. Richard A. Epstein is the inaugural Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at NYU School of Law. Prior to his joining the faculty, he was a visiting law professor at NYU from 2007 through 2009. He has served as the Peter and Kirstin Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution since 2000. Prof. Epstein is also the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law Emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago. His initial law school appointment was at the University of Southern California from 1968 to 1972. 

Epstein received an LL.D., h.c. from the University of Ghent, 2003. He has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1985 and has been a Senior Fellow of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago Division of Biological Sciences, also since 1983. He served as editor of the Journal of Legal Studies from 1981 to 1991, and of the Journal of Law and Economics from 1991-2001. From 2001 to 2010 he was a director of the John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago.

Prof. Epstein has published and edited numerous books and journal articles addressing a wide range of legal and interdisciplinary subjects. Epstein's writings have extensively influenced American legal thought. In 2000, a study published in The Journal of Legal Studies identified Epstein as the 12th-most cited legal scholar of the 20th century. In 2008, he was chosen in a poll taken by Legal Affairs as one of the most influential legal thinkers of modern times. A study of legal publications between 2009 - 2013 found Epstein to be the 3rd-most frequently cited American legal scholar during that period, behind only Cass Sunstein and Erwin Chemerinsky.

Professor Epstein also writes a legal column, the Libertarian, and is a contributor to and the SCOTUSblog.

KEYNOTE TOPIC: Is Lochner v. New York Constitutionally Indefensible?

Is Lochner v New York constitutionally indefensible? It is commonly asserted that there are only four cases in American constitutional history that are beyond the pale:  Red Scott v. Sanford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Korematsu v United States, and Lochner v. New York.  The stark contrast between decisions that have thwarted economic and social liberties and the one case that defends it, should itself be sufficient to explain why economic liberties today deserve increased constitutional protection.  In this lecture, Professor Epstein examine the yawning gulf between Lochner and these three other decisions.

Saturday evening Banquet "Fireside Chat" Keynote

MODERATOR - Senator Jon Kyl (AZ)


A senator and representative from Arizona; born in Oakland, Nebr., April 25, 1942; B.A., University of Arizona, Tucson 1964; LL.B., University of Arizona 1966; admitted to the Arizona State Bar in 1966 and practiced law as a member of Jennings, Strouss and Salmon, in Phoenix 1966-1986; chairman, Phoenix Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce 1984-1985; elected as a Republican to the One Hundredth and to the three succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1987-January 3, 1995); was not a candidate for reelection to the House of Representatives in 1994; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1994; reelected in 2000, and again in 2006, and served from January 3, 1995, to January 3, 2013; Republican party whip (2007-2013); chair, Republican Policy Committee (2003-2007), Republican Conference (2007); was not a candidate for reelection to the Senate in 2012; appointed as a Republican to the United States Senate on September 4, 2018, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John Sidney McCain, III; took the oath of office on September 5, 2018, to serve until a special election is held on November 3, 2020, for the remainder of the term ending January 3, 2023.

SPEAKER - Governor Doug Ducey (AZ)


Governor Doug Ducey is the 23rd governor of the state of Arizona.   Elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, Governor Ducey has applied his experience from a successful career in business to bring much-needed change to Arizona government.  Upon taking office, the governor inherited a $1 billion budget deficit. He quickly took action and balanced the budget in his first year — without raising taxes.

Committed to investing in public education, in his first year, Governor Ducey led a historic and bipartisan effort to invest $3.5 billion into K-12 schools, injecting more dollars into Arizona’s classrooms. With a focus on teacher pay, the governor also championed the passage of legislation to increase teacher pay 20 % by 2020. 

Governor Ducey has cut regulations and simplified taxes every year to stimulate job creation and economic growth. He’s also prioritized public safety, creating the Arizona Border Strike Force, a statewide, multiagency effort to combat border-related crime. 

Today, Arizona’s budget is balanced. Business is thriving. And Arizona is on the rise.  In his second term, Governor Ducey remains committed to making Arizona a land of “Opportunity for All” and has pledged to work every day to make that vision a reality.

He moved to Arizona in 1982 to attend Arizona State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Finance




ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Federalist Society Student Chapter is excited to host the 38th National Student Symposium on March 15-16, 2019. The topic of the Symposium is "The Resurgence of Economic Liberty."

View the Symposium event on Facebook here.




Student Symposium Registration ONLY (includes all events except the Saturday night cocktail reception and banquet.):

  • $10 (student members)
  • $100 (non-student members)

*Follow "Symposium Registration" hyperlink above for payment*

Banquet and Saturday night cocktail reception (This does not include Student Symposium registration. You must also register for the Student Symposium Registration as well if you’d like to attend the panels/lunch.):

  • $55 (student members)
  • $200 (non-student members)




Rather than reserve a block of rooms at a predetermined hotel, ASU Law has embraced the symposium theme of economic liberty and provided Symposium attendees with a link through which you can access all ASU-wide hotel special hotel rates in the Phoenix area.  This optimizes consumer choice, and hopefully will lead to more efficient outcomes. That said, Phoenix hotels book very quickly during March with great weather and lots of Baseball Spring Training going on in the area.  Make sure to book your hotel rooms early!

Please use the following link to secure ASU discounts at all listed hotels near ASU Law: 

The hotel where most non-panel events will be held is the Sheraton Grand Phoenix Hotel, located directly across the street from ASU Law at: 340 N 3rd St., Phoenix, AZ 85004.

Please also feel free to use the above-linked Facebook account to coordinate hotel room sharing arrangements.