While Allgeyer v. Louisiana is often regarded as the first Supreme Court decision to endorse the right of liberty to contract, the Court’s opinion never mentioned the phrase.

So what was this 1897 case about? Prof. David Bernstein of Antonin Scalia Law School explores contract law, state police powers, and the Fourteenth Amendment in Allgeyer v. Louisiana.


As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

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Follow David Bernstein on Twitter: @ProfDBernstein


Related Links & Differing Views:

George Mason University Law and Economics Research Paper Series: “Freedom of Contract”

University of Baltimore Law Review: “The Due Process Clause as a Limitation on the Reach of State Legislation”

St. John’s Law Review: “The Allgeyer Case as a Constitutional Embrasure of Territoriality”

University of Pennsylvania Law Review and American Law Register: “The Due Process Clauses and the Substance of Individual Rights”