Rob Natelson

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.
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Compiled Works of Rob Natelson

When lawyers and judges interpret legal documents, they usually try to ascertain the understanding of the parties to the document.

This is a guide to the constitutional issue of whether a child is a citizen if born in the United States to alien parents here illegally.

Margaret Mitchell's book, Gone With the Wind, holds a plethora of references to historical events occurring during the 1860s.

A newly published speech by one of our Framers offers important clues to the constitutional role of the states, of the right to keep and bear arms, and of the amendment process.

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