The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
The 2017 holiday season is now upon us! And if you are looking for possible gifts for regular Volokh Conspiracy readers in your life, what could better than books by VC bloggers?
Among my favorite books by VC authors are Randy Barnett's Restoring the Lost Constitution, David Bernstein's Rehabilitating Lochner, Dale Carpenter, Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas, and Eugene Volokh, Academic Legal Writing.
Randy's book is one of the best recent works on originalism and constitutional legitimacy. It is relevant to ongoing debates over legal interpretation that are sure to heat up again as the Supreme Court considers several major cases in the near future. Randy Barnett is also the author of the recent Our Republican Constitution, which I reviewed here. Rehabilitating Lochner explodes numerous myths about one of the Court's most reviled decisions, one that remains relevant to current debates over "judicial activism." Flagrant Conduct is a great account of a milestone in the history of gay rights. It provides useful historical context for the still-ongoing battles over same-sex marriage and other related issues. Finally, Academic Legal Writing is filled with useful advice, while also somehow managing to make this generally unexciting topic interesting.
This list is not intended to slight important books by Ken Anderson, Sam Bray, Orin Kerr, David Kopel, David Post, and other VC bloggers. I have not discussed them only because their subjects are relatively distant from my own areas of expertise.
In the spirit of shameless self-promotion, I will also mention the much-expanded second edition of my own book Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter. Sadly, the problem analyzed in the book played an important role in the 2016 election. It also helps to account for widespread public ignorance about the Constitution, and for the perpetuation of a wide range of government policies that constrict economic growth and harm the poor. Whether or not people agree with the specific solutions advocated in my book, I hope that recent events at least lead more Americans to start taking the problem of political ignorance seriously.
My most recent book is Eminent Domain: A Comparative Perspective, co-edited with Iljoong Kim and Hojun Lee. It analyzes the use and abuse of eminent domain in a variety of countries around the world.
My other books include The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain, which is the first book by a legal scholar about one of the Supreme Court's most controversial modern decisions, and A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case (coauthored with VC-ers Randy Barnett, Jonathan Adler, David Bernstein, Orin Kerr, and David Kopel). Conspiracy Against Obamacare focuses on the VC's significant role in the Obamacare litigation, and is the only book that includes contributions by six different VC bloggers. In November 2016, the University of Chicago Press published an an updated paperback edition of the The Grasping Hand, which incorporates new material on recent developments on, including the growing legal and political struggle over pipeline takings, and controversies surrounding Donald Trump's history of eminent domain abuse.