Atop St. Paul's Cathedral, London

Rob Natelson was repeatedly cited again in two Supreme Court opinions this term---making this 16 times in four cases since 2013. In addition, parts of Chief Justice Roberts' 2012 opinion on the "Obamacare" health care law closely tracked Rob's original research on the Necessary and Proper Clause.

He also is widely acknowledged to be the country's leading scholar on the Constitution's amendment procedure, and among the leaders on several other topics.

Rob is the Independence Institute's Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence. He was a law professor for 25 years, serving at three different universities. Among other subjects, he taught Constitutional Law, Constitutional History, Advanced Constitutional Law, and First Amendment. He is also the Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Montana Policy Institute.

Rob is especially known for his studies of the Constitution's original meaning. His research has carried him to libraries throughout the United States and in Britain, including four months at Oxford. The results have included several break-though discoveries.

His publications are too numerous to list; the bibliography below is just a sample. In addition to his articles on the U.S. Constitution, he created the first online guide to "originalist"  research (now partly duplicated here); created the database the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Montana Constitution; and in conjunction with his eldest daughter Rebecca, edited the first complete Internet versions of the Emperor Justinian's great Roman law collection (in Latin).

There are several keys to Rob's success as a scholar. Unlike most constitutional writers, he has academic training not merely in law or in history, but in both, as well as in the Latin classics that were the mainstay of Founding-Era education. He works hard to keep his historical investigations objective. He also has the benefit of lessons and habits learned in the "real world," since prior to entering academia he practiced law in two states, ran his own businesses, and worked as a journalist and at other jobs.

For about a decade, Rob had a career in public life in his "spare time." He  created and hosted Montana's first statewide commercial radio talk show; became the state's best known political activist; led, among other campaigns, the most successful petition-referendum drive in state history; and helped push through several important pieces of legislation. In June 2000, he was the runner-up among five candidates in the party primaries for Governor.

Today's academia is not a welcoming place for scholars with free market views. Nevertheless, near the end of his academic career, his university recognized his extraordinary research achievements.

Recreation?  Rob loves to spend time in the great outdoors, where he enjoys hiking and skiing with his wife and three daughters. He also likes opera, travel, and science fiction.

Examples of What Rob Has Published:

CONSTITUTIONAL PUBLICATIONS

Rob's Newest Article: The Origins and Meaning of "Vacancies that May Happen During the Recess" in the Constitution's Recess Appointments Clause, 37 Harvard. J. of L. & Pub. Pol'y (forthcoming 2014)

* On the Constitution in General:

The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant (Tenth Amendment Center, 2010) (2nd ed., 2011) (book).

The Founders' Hermeneutic: The Real Original Understanding of Original Intent, 68 Ohio St. L.J. 1239 (2007).

The Constitution and the Public Trust, 52 Buff. L. Rev. 1077 (2004).

A Reminder: The Constitutional Values of Sympathy and Independence, 91 Ky. L. J. 353 (2003).

The Constitutional Contributions of John Dickinson, 108 Penn. State L. Rev. 415 (2003).

* On Amending the Constitution:

On the Need to Use Article V,  36 Harvard J. L. & Pub. Pol. 955 (2013)

Founding-Era Conventions and the Meaning of the Constitution's "Convention for Proposing Amendments", 65 Fla. L. Rev. 615 (2013)

Proposing Constitutional Amendments by Convention: Rules Governing the Process, 78 Tenn. L. Rev. 693 ( 2011)

James Madison and the Constitution’s “Convention for Proposing Amendments,” 45 Akron L. Rev. 431 (2012)

The State-Application-and-Convention Method of Amending the Constitution: The Founding-Era Vision, 28 Cooley L. Rev. 9 (2011)

Amending the Constitution by Convention: Practical Guidance for Citizens and Policymakers (Independence Institute, 2012) (updated and amended version of an earlier paper published by the Goldwater Institute)

Amending The Constitution by Convention: Lessons for Today from the Constitution's First Century (Independence Institute, 2011) (updated and amended version of an earlier paper published by the Goldwater Institute)

Amending the Constitution by Convention: A More Complete View of the Founders' Plan (Independence Institute, 2010) (updated and amended version of an earlier paper published by the Goldwater Institute)

* On Congressional Power - Commerce and Necessary & Proper Clauses:

The Origins of the Necessary and Proper Clause (with Lawson, Miller & Seidman) (Cambridge University Press 2010) (book).

"Health Laws of Every Description": John Marshall's Ruling on a Federal Health Care Law, 12 Engage, No. 1 (June, 2011) (with Dave Kopel)

Commerce in the Commerce Clause: A Response to Jack Balkin, 109 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 55 (2010) (with Dave Kopel).

Tempering the Commerce Power, 68 Mont. L. Rev. 95 (2007).

The Legal Meaning of "Commerce" In the Commerce Clause, 80 St. John's L. Rev. 789 (2006).

The Agency Law Origins of the Necessary and Proper Clause, 55 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 243 (2004).

* On Congressional Power - Taxing and Spending:

Judicial Review of Special Interest Spending: The General Welfare Clause and the Fiduciary Law of the Founders, 11 Tex. Rev. L. & Pol. 239 (2007).

The General Welfare Clause and the Public Trust: An Essay in Original Understanding, 52 U. Kan. L. Rev. 1 (2003).

* On Congressional Power - Campaign Finance:

The Original Scope of the Congressional Power to Regulate Elections, 13 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 1 (2010).

* On Congressional Power - Money:

Paper Money and the Original Understanding of the Coinage Clause, 31 Harvard J.L. & Pub. Policy 1017 (2008).

* On Congressional Power - Indian Affairs:

The Original Meaning of the Indian Commerce Clause, 85 Denv. U. L. Rev. 201 (2007).

* On Congressional Power - Federal Land:

Federal Land Retention and the Constitution's Property Clause: The Original Understanding, 76 U. Colo. L. Rev. 327 (2005).

More in Chapter 6, pp. 106-110, The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant

* More on Congressional Power: Chapters 5 & 6, The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant

* On the Executive Power---Recess Appointments:

The Origins and Meaning of "Vacancies that May Happen During the Recess" in the Constitution's Recess Appointments Clause , 37 Harvard J. of L. & Pub. Pol'y (2014) (forthcoming)

* On the Executive Power and Impeachment:

The Original Meaning of the Constitution’s “Executive Vesting Clause” – Evidence from Eighteenth-Century Drafting Practice, 31 Whittier L. Rev. 1 (2009).

More in Chapters 7 & 11, The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant

* On The States & Republican Government:

The Original Meaning of the Privileges and Immunities Clause, 43 Ga. L. Rev. 1117 (2009).

The Guarantee Clause, in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution (2005).

Initiative and Referendum and the "Republican Form of Government," in The Battle over Citizen Lawmaking (Carolina Ac. Press 2000).

The Enumerated Powers of States, 3 Nev. L. J. 469 (2003).

Statutory Retroactivity: The Founders' View, 39 Idaho L. Rev. 489 (2003).

A Republic, Not a Democracy? Initiative, Referendum, and the Constitution's Guarantee Clause, 80 Tex. L. Rev. 807 (2002).

More in Chapters 3 & 6, The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant

* First Amendment:

The Original Meaning of the Establishment Clause, 14 Wm. & Mary Bill Rights J. 73 (2005).

More in Chapter 9, The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant

 

* Fifth Amendment:

Statutory Retroactivity: The Founders' View, 39 Idaho L. Rev. 489 (2003).

More in Chapter 9, The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant

* Ninth and Tenth Amendments:

The Enumerated Powers of States, 3 Nev. L. J. 469 (2003).

More in Chapter 10, The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant

* State Constitutions:

"No Armed Bodies of Men"—Montanans' Forgotten Constitutional Right, 63 Mont. L. Rev. 1 (2002).

Blocking the Cure for Columbine: Implications of State Constitutional "Cartelization" (Independence Institute, 1999).

LEGAL HISTORY PUBLICATIONS (OTHER THAN CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY)

"Magna Carta," entry for the Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States (Macmillan Reference [Gale-Cengage] 2008).

Corpus Juris Civilis—an Internet Compilation of Classical Roman Law Sources, (2002-03).

The Government as Fiduciary: Lessons from the Reign of the Emperor Trajan, 35 Richmond L. Rev. 191 (2001).

Montana Estates in Land Statutes: History and Commentary (Univ. of Mont. 1991).

Running with the Land in Montana, 51 Mont. L. Rev. 17 (1990).

Comments on the Historiography of Condominium: The Myth of Roman Origin, 12 Okla. City L. Rev. 17 (1986) (digested and reprinted in 4 Common Ground (Sept., Nov. 1988)).

PUBLIC POLICY PUBLICATIONS

State Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth in the Rocky Mountain West (Independence Institute, 1998).

Tax and Spending Limits for Montana? Criteria for Assessing Current Proposals (Independence Institute, 1994).

Peyote, "Multiculturalism" and the Caricature of the West, 52 Mont. L. Rev. 453 (1991).

REMEDIES PUBLICATIONS

Montana Remedies Law (course book, 1988).

Mending the Social Compact: Expectancy Damages for Common Property Defects, 66 Or. L. Rev. 109 (1987).

REAL PROPERTY PUBLICATIONS

Lateral and Subjacent Support, in Powell on Real Property (Matthew Bender 2001).

Conveyances of Real Property Not By Deed, in Powell on Real Property (Matthew Bender 1999).

Boundaries, in Powell on Real Property (Matthew Bender 1998).

Condominiums, Reform, and the Unit Ownership Act, 58 Mont. L. Rev. 495 (1997).

Modern Law of Deeds to Real Property (Aspen Law & Bus. Supp. 1997).

Modern Law of Deeds to Real Property (Little, Brown Supp. 1996).

Modern Law of Deeds to Real Property (Little, Brown Supp. 1995).

Modern Law of Deeds to Real Property (Little, Brown Supp. 1994).

Modern Law of Deeds to Real Property (Little, Brown Supp. 1993).

Law of Property Owners Associations (Little, Brown Supp. 1991).

Montana Estates in Land Statutes: History and Commentary (Univ. of Mont. 1991).

Consent, Coercion, and Reasonableness in Private Law: The Special Case of the Property Owners Association, 51 Ohio St. L.J. 41 (1990).

Law of Property Owners Associations (Little, Brown Supp. 1990).

Running with the Land in Montana, 51 Mont. L. Rev. 17 (1990).

Law of Property Owners Associations (Little, Brown Supp. 1989).

Mending the Social Compact: Expectancy Damages for Common Property Defects, 66 Or. L. Rev. 109 (1987).

Keeping Faith: Fiduciary Obligations in Property Owners Associations, 11 Vt. L. Rev. 421 (1986).

"Buyer Brokerage:" Does It Still Exist After Velten v. Robertson?, 55 U. Colo. L. Rev. 83 (1983).

Modern Law of Deeds to Real Property (Little, Brown 1992) (606 pp.).

Law of Property Owners Associations (Little, Brown 1989) (749 pp.).

Real Property (course book, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2001).

How to Buy and Sell a Condominium (Simon & Schuster 1981) (popular trade paper back).

Real Estate Law Columnist, Denver Rocky Mountain News (1982-84).

OTHER PUBLICATIONS

Literally hundreds of other op-eds, CLE materials, and short articles since 1967 on various subjects, including law, policy, and real estate.

 

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October 24th, 2014
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