Even in the bleakest parts of 2020, IJ had reason to celebrate, with a slate of important victories in state courts. In each, we used state constitutions to protect economic liberty where federal courts have fallen down on the job. Our track record includes great rulings in Georgia, Wisconsin, and the home of American liberty itself, Pennsylvania.
That work in court was complemented by IJ’s Center for Judicial Engagement, which hosted a series of Judicial Engagement State Forums that focused on particular state constitutions and emphasized the need for state judges to enforce them in the face of state and local government abuse and overreach. Our first was in Minnesota this past February and, after a pandemic-related change to an online forum, we held our second in Pennsylvania in October.
Bringing together a wide variety of professors and practitioners—including Philadelphia lawyer and legal blogger of “How Appealing” fame Howard Bashman—the forum included in-depth discussions on judicial engagement, the expansive liberties the Pennsylvania Constitution protects, and what parts of it deserve more attention from the courts. One subject that came up over and over was IJ’s recent series of victories for entrepreneurs. Engaging the legal community with IJ’s success moving the law in the direction of liberty creates a virtuous cycle, making our perspective on these vital principles ever more common. We plan to keep up the forums, and the victories, in the new year.