America has produced many noteworthy economists, but few were as influential as Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize winner long associated with the University of Chicago. Unlike many of his colleagues in the “dismal science,” Friedman was able to connect with the public through his widely-read Newsweek column, his 1980 best-seller Free to Choose (co-written with his wife, Rose), and the ten-part PBS series of the same name. Friedman had an uncanny ability to explain the principles of free-market economics in everyday terms—without esoteric jargon—that ordinary people could easily grasp.
Unfortunately, few jurists or legal scholars share Friedman's gift for lucid communication with a wide audience. Accordingly, legal issues generally, and constitutional law in particular, are poorly understood by non-lawyers. Supreme Court justices have typically maintained a low profile, and even the rare extroverts, such as the late Antonin Scalia, usually addressed audiences consisting of lawyers or law students. Constitutional issues are discussed (and debated) primarily within the cloistered confines of the academy, in the law reviews, and on specialized sites such as Law & Liberty, but rarely in venues trafficked by the general public.