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The Art of Reading Lochner

32 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2005  

Rebecca L. Brown

USC Gould School of Law


This essay argues that the Repudiation of Lochner v. New York is an event that has been cloaked in mystique and power, the very uncertainty of which has led to a kind of paralysis in the realization of constitutional aspiration. Yet because of its largely incorporeal nature, the meaning and implications of this important event have largely eluded focused critique and reevaluation. Those with a mind to question or rethink the Repudiation have focused their efforts primarily on revisionist accounts of Lochner itself. These are helpful in highlighting the possible meanings of the Repudiation, not descriptively, but normatively. They invite us to think about what we wish to consider ourselves to have repudiated with Lochner - a question that has, incredibly, not been adequately debated.

Suggested Citation

Brown, Rebecca L., The Art of Reading Lochner. NYU Journal of Law & Liberty, Summer 2005. Available at SSRN:

Rebecca Brown (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

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