This book stands against the current of judgments long settled in the schools of law in regard to classic cases such as Lochner v. New York, Near v. Minnesota, the Pentagon Papers case, and Bob Jones University v. United States. Professor Hadley Arkes takes as his subject concepts long regarded as familiar, settled principles in our law - 'prior restraints', ex post facto laws - and he shows that there is actually a mystery about them, that their meaning is not as settled or clear as we have long supposed. Arkes shows this in his text, arguing that the logic of the natural law provides the key to this chain of legal puzzles.
Hadley Arkes is Edward Ney Professor of American Institutions and Jurisprudence in the Department of Political Science at Amherst College. He is the author of six books, most notably First Things (1986), Beyond the Constitution (1990), and Natural Rights and the Right to Choose (Cambridge University Press, 2002). His articles have appeared in professional journals as well as the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, National Review, and First Things, a journal that took its name from his book of that title.
Introduction: the anchoring common sense and the puzzles of the law; 1. On the novelties of an old constitution: settled principles and unsettling surprises; 2. The natural law - again, ever; 3. Lochner and the cast of our law; 4. The strange case of prior restraint: the Pentagon Papers; 5. Near revisited; 6. The saga of Frank Snepp and the new regime of previous restraints; 7. And yet ... a good word on behalf of the legal positivists; 8. Conclusion and afterword.