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ARTICLE TWO CONCEPTS OF JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE PAMELA S KARLAN Forty years ago Isaiah Berlin delivered an extraordinarily influential lecture called Two Concepts of Liberty 1 As the title suggests Berlin identified two different kinds of freedom Negative liberty is liberty from absence of interference beyond the shifting but always recognizable frontier 2 It involves warding off interference 3 from external forces or other individuals Positive liberty by contrast consists in freedom to it refers to the ability to be a doer deciding not being decided for selfdirected and capable of playing a human role that is of conceiving goals and policies of one s own and realizing them 4 Two Concepts of Liberty offered a rich and complex argument but several of its central points can be stated relatively simply First liberty is but one of a constellation of important and distinct values There are other values for example equality or fairness or justice or culture or human happiness or a quiet conscience 5 to which liberty must sometimes give way Second the positive conception of freedom can become quite illiberal when it turns from the question of a man s inner life to his relations with other members of his society 6 The equation of liberty with Professor of Law Stanford Law School B A 1980 Yale University M A 1984 Yale University J D 1984 Yale Law School I thank Tom Grey Eben Moglen Deborah Rhode and Kathleen Sullivan for a variety of helpful comments and suggestions 1 The lecture is reprinted in ISAIAH BERLIN FOUR ESSAYS ON LIBERTY 118 72 1970 2 Id at 127 3 Id 4 Id at 131 5 Id at 125 6 Id at 145 535 536 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW Vol 72 535 rational self direction 7 tends toward the assumption that there are political truths that these truths can be discovered by reason and that those in possession of them are entitled to employ a striking amount of coercion in order to turn other people into truly free individuals Negative conceptions of freedom by contrast tend to be






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