The Federalist Society

Conservative & Libertarian Pre-Law Reading List


I. Law 101.

Bastiat, Frederic. The Law. Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, 1998, 2d ed. Available on the web at .

Benson, Bruce L. "The Spontaneous Evolution of Commercial Law." Southern Economic Journal 55 (1989): 644-661.

Boorstin, Daniel J. The Mysterious Science of the Law: An Essay on Blackstone's Commentaries. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1996 ed.

Epstein, Richard. Simple Rules for a Complex World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995. See also Steve Chapman, "Takings Exception," Reason Magazine, Apr. 1995 (interview of Epstein) available at

Hayek, Friedrich. Law, Legislation and Liberty, Vol. 1, Rules and Order. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1973. See also Thomas W. Hazlett, "The Road from Serfdom," Reason Magazine, July 1992 (a 1977 interview of Hayek) available at

Honore, Tony. About Law: A Introduction. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2001 ed.

Kelly, J.M. A Short History of Western Legal Theory. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1992.

Leoni, Bruno. Freedom and the Law. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 3d ed. 1991.

Levi, Edward H. An Introduction to Legal Reasoning. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1962 ed.

Scalia, Antonin. "The Rule of Law as a Law of Rules." 56 Univ. of Chicago L. Rev. 1175 (1989).

II. Economics 101.

Bethell, Tom. The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity Through the Ages. New York:
Palgrave McMillan, 1999 ed.

Doti, James L. & Dwight R. Lee. The Market Economy: A Reader. Los Angeles: Roxbury Pub. Co., 1991.

Friedman, David D. Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Friedman, David D.  Price Theory: An Intermediate Text.  Cincinnati: South-Western Pub. Co., 2d ed. 1990. Also available on the author's web page, at

Gwartney, James D. & Richard L. Stroup. What Everyone Should Know About Economics and
. Tallahassee, FL: James Madison Institute, 1993. (Order by calling (800) 376-1119.)

Hayek, Friedrich. "The Use of Knowledge in Society." American Economic Review 35 (1945): 519-530. Available at

Hazlitt, Henry. Economics in One Lesson. Glendale, CA: Crown Pub. Group, 1988 ed.

Kane, Tim, Kim R. Holmes, & Mary Anastasia O'Grady.  2007 Index of Economic
. Washington, DC: The Heritage Foundation, 13th ed.  Excerpts available at

Landsburg, Steven E. The Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Life. New York: Free Press, 1995 ed.

Lee, Dwight R. & Richard B. McKenzie. Getting Rich in America: Eight Simple Rules for Building a Fortune - and a Satisfying Life. New York: Collins, 2000 ed. 

Romer, Paul M. "Economic Growth" in David R. Henderson, ed., The Fortune Encyclopedia of
, 183-189. New York: Warner Books, 1993. Available at

Romer, Paul M. "It's All in Your Head." Outlook Magazine, June 1998. 

Romer, Paul M. "Risk and Return," Hoover Digest 1996, No. 2.  (To order a copy, call (650) 723-1754.)  See also Joel Kurtzman, "An Interview with Paul M. Romer," Strategy and Business, First Quarter 1997 (available at; Kevin Kelly, "The Economics of Ideas," Wired, June 1996 (available at

Smith, Adam. Wealth of Nations (1776). New York: Prometheus Books, 1991 ed.  2001 version available at See also the interview of Adam Smith, conducted through the "medium" of economist and Smith scholar Edwin West, in the June 1994 issue of The Region, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, available at

III. "Law and Economics."

Coase, Ronald. See Thomas W. Hazlett, "Looking for Results," Reason Magazine, Jan. 1997, (interview of Coase) available at

Cooter, Robert & Thomas Ulen. Law and Economics. New York: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 3d ed. 1999.

Dixit, Avinash K. & Barry J. Nalebuff. Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1993 ed.

Easterbrook, Frank. "The Court and the Economic System." 98 Harvard L. Rev. 4 (1984).

McCain, Roger. "Strategy and Conflict: An Introductory Sketch of Game Theory." Available at

Polinsky, A Mitchell. An Introduction to Law and Economics. Boston: Aspen Publishers, 3d ed., 2003.

Posner, Richard A. Economic Analysis of Law. Boston: Aspen Law & Business, 6th ed. 2002.

IV. Public Policy and "Public Choice."

Buchanan, James. Interviewed in the September 1995 issue of The Region, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, available at   See also the web site of the new James Buchanan Center at George Mason University, dedicated to furthering the public choice research agenda, at

Friedman, Milton, Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 40th anniv. ed., 2002. (AudioBooks version available (free) at See also Brian Doherty, "The Best of Both Worlds," Reason Magazine, June 1995, (interview of Friedman) available at and the Milton Freedom Page at

Gunning, J. Patrick. Understanding Democracy: An Introduction to Public Choice. Fort Myers, FL: Nomad Press, 1998. 

Lee, Dwight R. & Richard B. McKenzie. Failure and Progress. Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 1993.

V. Ideological Visions, Public Policy, and Law.

Becker, Mary E. "Four Faces of Liberal Legal Thought." Univ. of Chicago Law School Record, Fall 1988, at 11-17.

Boaz, David. Libertarianism: A Primer. New York: Free Press, 1998. 

Boaz, David, ed. The Libertarian Reader: Classic and Contemporary Writings from Lao-Tzu to Milton Friedman. New York: Free Press, 1998.

Bork, Robert H. Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline.
New York: Harper Collins, 1996. 

Brunner, Karl. "The Perception of Man and the Conception of Society: Two Approaches to Understanding Society." Economic Inquiry 25 (1987):367-388.

Clark, Robert. "In Critical Legal Studies, the West Is the Adversary." Wall Street Journal, Feb. 23, 1989, at A18.

Gerson, Mark. "Battler for the Republic." Policy Review, Fall 1992, at 50-57.

Grabill, Stephen & Gregory M.A. Gronbacher."Dictionary of Key Terms for a Free and Virtuous Society." Available at

Johnson, Phillip E. "Nihilism and the End of Law." First Things, Mar. 1993, at 19-25.

Kristol, Irving. Reflections of a Neoconservative: Looking Back, Looking Ahead. New York: Basic Books, 1983. (AudioBooks version available (free) at

Leff, Arthur A. "Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law." 1979 Duke L.J. 1229.

McConnell, Michael W. "Four Faces of Conservative Legal Thought." Univ. of Chicago Law School Record, Spring 1988, at 12-18.

Murray, Charles. What It Means to be a Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation. New York:
Broadway Books, 1997.

Sowell, Thomas. A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. New York: Basic Books, 2002 ed. (AudioBooks version available (free) at

Sowell, Thomas. The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy. New York: Basic Books, 1996. See also Sowell's web site at

Wilson, James Q. Moral Judgment: Does the Abuse Excuse Threaten Our Legal System?
Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2005 ed.  See also William D. Eggers & John O'Leary, "No Easy Answers," Reason Magazine, Feb. 1995 (interview of Wilson) available at

VI. Constitutional Law.

The Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, the Constitution, and many other
documents related to the Founding are available on a number of web pages, including:

Bickel, Alexander M. The Morality of Consent. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1975.

Bork, Robert H. "The Legacy of Alexander M. Bickel." Yale Law Report, Fall 1979, at 6-13.

Bork, Robert H. The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law. New York: Free Press, 1990.

Brennan, Geoffrey & James Buchanan. "The Normative Purpose of Economic `Science': Rediscovery of an Eighteenth Century Method." International Review of Law & Economics 1 (1981):155-166.

Epstein, Richard. "The Mistakes of 1937." 11 George Mason Univ. L. Rev. 5 (1988).

Graglia, Lino A. "`Constitutional Theory': The Attempted Justification for the Supreme Court's Liberal Political Program." 65 Tex. L. Rev. 789 (1987).

Graglia, Lino A. "From Federal Union to National Monolith: Mileposts in the Demise of American Federalism." 16 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol'y 129 (1993).

Graglia, Lino A. "How the Constitution Disappeared." Commentary, Feb. 1986, at 18-26.

Locke, John. Second Treatise of Government (1690). Available at  See also Stephens, George M. "John Locke: His American and Carolinian Legacy." Available at

McDonald, Forrest. A Constitutional History of the United States. Melbourne, FL: Krieger Publishing Co., 1986 ed.

McDonald, Forrest. Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the ConstitutionLawrence, KS: Univ. Press of Kansas, 1986.

Scalia, Antonin. A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1998 ed.

West, Thomas. Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997. West's C-SPAN interview about this book is available at

VII. (Serious) Comic Relief.

Garvin, Glenn. "All I Think Is That It's Stupid," Reason Magazine, Dec. 1994 (interview of Dave
Barry), available at

O'Rourke, P.J. Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics . Berkeley, CA: Atlantic Monthly Press,
1999 ed.

O'Rourke, P.J. Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S.
. Berkeley, CA: Grove Press, 2003 ed.

O'Rourke, P.J. "Closing the Wealth Gap," 1997 (available at ).

O'Rourke, P.J. "The Liberty Manifesto," American Spectator, July 1993 (available at ).

VIII. Additional Resources for Independent Study.

"Conservative and Libertarian Legal Scholarship: An Annotated Bibliography." Cato Institute.

"Cato University."

Foundation for Economic Education

International Society for Individual Liberty

Heartland Foundation.

The Idea Channel.

Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University

"Guide to Classical Liberal Scholarship" online.

Intellectual Capital.

"A Student's Guide to the Study of Law" (ISI).  A free copy can be obtained by calling (800) 526-7022.

Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn University.

"Austrian Economics Study Guide" online.  Available at

Nobel Awards in Economic Sciences:

Town Hall.

Michael DeBow & Roger Clegg, 8 February 10, 1999 (editions updated March 19, 2007).
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