Volokh Conspiracy Holiday Gifts!

Some VC-related holiday gifts for the law and public policy mavens in your life.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

The 2018 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 related issues. Finally, Academic Legal Writing is filled with useful advice, while also somehow managing to make this generally unexciting topic interesting.

The just-published Cambridge Handbook of Classical Liberal Thought (edited by Todd Henderson), includes chapters by three different VC bloggers: Jonathan Adler on environmental policy, David Bernstein on anti-discrimination law, and my own contribution on "voting with your feet."

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 and 2018 elections. It also helps to account for widespread public ignorance about the Constitution, for the painful realities of voting for a lesser evil, 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 updated paperback edition of the The Grasping Hand, which incorporates new material on recent developments such as the growing legal and political struggle over pipeline takings.


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  1. I’d like to own The Cambridge Handbook of Classical Liberal Thought but them prices:

    Kindle edition; $74.49
    Hardcover; $119.03
    Used hardcover; $101.18

    On the other hand, had my eye on Randy’s book for a while and just took the plunge on the kindle edition (a very reasonable $14.72).

    1. I agree. In general, I would like to read many of the books mentioned on the Volohh Conspiracy. But the prices are set for law school students (i.e., exorbitant) or people who are practicing law for a living. I’m merely an interested bystander. How about reasonable prices for kindle versions or borrowing the books from an electronic library?

  2. If 30% of the population read these two books and truly understood the subject matter we’d eliminate half the ‘conservative’ and the entire slate of leftwing candidates and politicians currently running things in the Western world right off the bat.



  3. I must stop reading this blog.
    10 recommended books and 5 are your own. “Do you wish people to think well of you? Don’t speak well of yourself.” ? Blaise Pascal

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