Laura Weinrib, From Public Interest to Private Rights: Free Speech, Liberal Individualism, and the Making of Modern Tort Law, 34 L. & Soc. Inquiry 187 (2009)(Reviewing John Fabian Witt, Patriots and Cosmopolitans: Hidden Histories of American Law (2007)).
Abstract: Drawing on John Witt's 2007 book, Patriots and Cosmopolitans: Hidden Histories of American Law, this essay explores the role of the interwar civil liberties movement in rehabilitating the discourse of rights and privatizing the American welfare state. In the years after World War I, most proponents of free speech were hostile to Lochner‐era legalism and preferred to pursue civil liberties through legislative and regulatory measures as a means of advancing the public interest. By the onset of World War II, however, they had instead adopted a court‐centered strategy that emphasized individual autonomy. The popular and political resonance of their new state‐skeptical vocabulary suggests that post‐New Deal liberalism in America was a hybrid of classical and Progressive approaches.