The Making of a Libertarian, Contrarian, Nonobservant, but Self-Identified Jew

7 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2014 Last revised: 13 Jan 2015

Date Written: 2015


Many academics are unaware that I am Jewish, no doubt due, in part, to my last name as well as to my politics, Yet growing up as a Jew in Polish-Catholic Calumet City, Illinois and as a kid from Calumet City attending Temple in Hammond, Indiana made me quite conscious of the tyranny of the majority. This environment, together with the influence of my father, had a deep affect on my views of liberty, justice, individual rights, and the U.S. Constitution. In this brief essay, prepared for a symposium on “Judaism and Constitutional Law: People of the Book,” held at the DePaul University College of Law, I explain how being a contrarian Jew has affected my academic agenda, my scholarly commitments, and the future direction of my work. I also suggest implications of my latest work on Our Republican Constitution for Judaism itself.

Keywords: Jew, Jewish, Judaism, libertarian, contrarian, constitutional law, legal theory, political theory

JEL Classification: K00, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Barnett, Randy E., The Making of a Libertarian, Contrarian, Nonobservant, but Self-Identified Jew (2015). Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Randy E. Barnett (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9936 (Phone)


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