Ernest A. Young

The Continuity of Statutory and Constitutional Interpretation: An Essay for Phil Frickey

This conference on the work of Philip Frickey as scholar, teacher, and institutional citizen has been an education—a somewhat daunting one—in how to achieve greatness as an academic. As a relatively junior person in this company, I have little to contribute to that discussion. But what I can perhaps document is Phil‘s intellectual influence on a rising generation of scholars in American public law. Like the monks who preserved the classical heritage of Greece and Rome, Phil and his coauthors, particularly Bill Eskridge, have preserved the “Legal Process” jurisprudence of 1950s giants like Henry Hart, Albert Sacks, Herbert Wechsler, and Lon Fuller and transmitted it to contemporary legal scholars. More than this, Phil‘s brilliant elaboration of that jurisprudence in his own work has made the Legal Process approach respectable in a more divided and critical age. As someone who values the wisdom of tradition and believes the Legal Process thinkers still have much to teach us, I consider these to be laudable contributions indeed.