Acton Institute Events

The Acton Institute’s international events include public lectures, academic seminars, joint participation in panels, and the annual Acton University conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan – all focused on illustrating the

Justice Antonin Scalia on interpreting the constitution

Ep. 22
On June 17th, 1997, United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the keynote address at the Acton Institute's 7th Annual Anniversary dinner. His remarks were entitled "On Interpreting the Constitution."Justice Scalia was arguably the Supreme Court’s most famous originalist in interpreting the Constitution. Scalia was equally known for using a textualist approach to statutory interpretation of the law.Back when he gave this address, originalism and textualism were essentially synonymous. Today however, there is a clear distinction between the two. Originalism is the interpretation of the Constitution as it would have been understood when it was first adopted. Textualism is the idea that what the text says, is simply the law.According to Scalia, the constitution is static - it cannot change and should not be open to discussion surrounding historical or present inquiries.This approach directly opposes the idea that the Constitution is a living document which should adapt to our ever changing culture and societal norms. Scalia’s argument is that instead of examining the intentions of the drafters, we should look to the common understanding of the text at the time it was written.Scalia believed that the law does not allow room for hearsay or subjective interpretations, and is often quoted as saying, “The text is the law, and it is the text that must be observed.”Biography on Justice Scalia 5 Facts About The U.S. Constitution What is our Constitution? - by Justice Antonin ScaliaThe Constitutional Way to Defeat Cancel Culture Acton Video - Justice Antonin Scalia's Keynote Address

Gregory Collins on the role of economics in the social order

Ep. 19
In this episode, we’re bringing you the most recent presentation from our Acton Lecture Series program, featuring the recipient of the Acton Institute’s 2020 Novak Award, Dr. Gregory Collins.Named after distinguished American theologian Michael Novak, this honor rewards new, outstanding scholarly research concerning the relationship between religion, economic freedom, and a free and virtuous society. It recognizes those scholars early in their academic career who demonstrate outstanding intellectual merit in advancing the understanding of theology’s connection to human dignity, the importance of the rule of law, limited government, religious liberty, and freedom in economic life.Gregory M. Collins is a Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer in the Program on Ethics, Politics, and Economics at Yale University. His book on Edmund Burke’s economic thought,Commerce and Manners in Edmund Burke’s Political Economy, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2020 and has already garnered significant attention inside and outside the academic community. He has published, or has forthcoming, articles on Burke, Adam Smith, Leo Strauss, Britain’s East India Company, and Frederick Douglass in theReview of Politics,History of Political Thought,American Political Thought,Journal of the History of Economic Thought,Slavery & Abolition, andPerspectives on Political Science. His current book project is a comparative study of Burke and the Enlightenment.In this lecture, drawing out some important themes of his recently published book on Edmund Burke’s economic thought,Commerce and Manners in Edmund Burke’s Political Economy, Dr. Collins explains whether Burke overcame perhaps the most powerful moral and metaphysical objection to commercial exchange: that the never-endingprocess of economic satisfaction is fundamentally at odds with the good life.Acton Institute names Gregory M. Collins of Yale University the 2020 Novak Award winnerGregory Collins - Yale University