Ordered Liberty Program

Operating out of the United States and Europe, and dedicated to excellence in research, scholarship, and education, the Ordered Liberty Program (OLP) at the University of Louisville works to strengthen political communities around the world through advanced inquiries into constitutional law and political theory, with emphasis on:

Natural Law & Natural Rights

The Common Good

Subsidiarity

Separation of Powers

Constitutional Interpretation

To these ends, OLP leads a wide range of academic initiatives at the university, including:

The Ordered Liberty Fellowship Program

The Ordered Liberty Curriculum 

The Ordered Liberty Academic Symposia

The Ordered Liberty School in Central Europe

OLP was founded in the United States in 2018 at the University of Louisville’s School of Law by Professor Luke Milligan and Professor Justin Walker, now of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.    

OLP expanded overseas in 2020, with the founding of the Ordered Liberty School in Central Europe.  Situated in Budapest on the Ludovika campus of the University of Public Service in Hungary, the Ordered Liberty School in Central Europe brings together scholars from the United States and Europe, and offers students from around the world an academic curriculum of law, history, and political theory.

Each year, OLP faculty select twelve law students to serve as Ordered Liberty Fellows.  Immersed in the study of natural law and constitutional history, in the United States and Europe, Ordered Liberty Fellows provide research assistance, draft papers, coordinate symposia, attend retreats, and gather monthly for dinner-discussions at the homes of academics, lawyers, and judges. Through the fellowship program, OLP aims to make the university attractive to the world’s best students and, in turn, the world’s most selective employers.

“I focused on the nation’s top law schools and only looked closely at the university because of OLP. In the end, I was holding two identical scholarship offers, from here and a law school well within the top 20. I chose OLP—for the intellectual rigor, professional opportunities, and reputation for academic excellence.”

– Emily Compton, Ordered Liberty Fellow, Class of ‘23

“OLP proved vital to obtaining a clerkship after graduation with a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Issues of federalism, separation of powers, and the Constitution’s original meaning are standard fare in federal appellate courts, and OLP addresses these topics with the academic seriousness they deserve.”

– Chuck Stinson, Ordered Liberty Fellow, Class of ’21

The Ordered Liberty Program is directed by Professor Luke Milligan, who divides his time between the United States and Central Europe. For additional information about the Ordered Liberty Program, visit OLP.  For questions on how to support education and research through the university’s Ordered Liberty Fund, please contact olp@louisville.edu.


OLP’s Mission

The city of Louisville was founded in Virginia in 1780, chartered by Governor Thomas Jefferson.  It soon became part of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which vested six thousand acres for the establishment of Jefferson Seminary, marking the 1798 founding of the University of Louisville.

The Commonwealth was unequivocal about the purpose of the land grant:

“Particular forms of government are better calculated than others to protect individuals in the free exercise of their natural rights.”

The best way to “prevent tyranny is to illuminate, as far as possible, the minds of the people at large, and . . . give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibiteth.”

“Those who learn of the experience of other ages and countries . . . may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and . . . exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes.”

(Founding Mission)

The Ordered Liberty Program was instituted at the University of Louisville to help carry out this founding mission.