Conservative & Libertarian Pre-Law Reading List

Conservative & Libertarian Legal Bibliography

The Great Debate:
Interpreting Our Written Constitution

Federalist Society Chapters

National Federalist Society Events

Multimedia Archive





The Federalist Society is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.

The Stanford Chapter provides a forum for discussion of these ideas at Stanford Law School, primarily through sponsorship of debates, lectures, and symposia. Organized in 1982, the Stanford Chapter is one of the founding chapters.

The National Organization

In April 1982, a small group of law students from Stanford, Harvard, Chicago, and Yale organized a symposium on federalism at Yale Law School. These students were greatly dissatisfied with the academic climate on their campuses and wanted to create a forum for debate on a wider range of legal viewpoints than their law school classroom experiences were providing. When the first symposium was held, there were fledging chapters at only these four universities. Inspired by the success of our initial program, other chapters soon formed at law schools across the country. The Federalist Society was then incorporated in August 1982. Later, to answer the obvious need at the next level of the legal community, the Society developed a Lawyers Division that successfully took root in every major legal center.

Since 1982, the Society has grown to include approximately 180 law school chapters and has become a major force in legal education. Currently, the national organization has approximately 35,000 members. The Federalist Society now includes Lawyers Division chapters in nearly 70 cities as well as 15 Practice Groups covering various specialized areas of the law. All chapters and practice groups are run autonomously by their members in coordination with the national office.

Why Join?

·       Interaction with prominent public officials, judges, and scholars

·       Special invitations to national conventions, regional conferences, and local events

·       A subscription to the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy

·       The Society's quarterly newsletter, The Federalist Paper, which includes thoughtful commentaries on the Supreme Court, book reviews, and reprints of engaging speeches and lectures

·       Networking opportunities including access to the local-area Lawyers Division Chapter

·       Membership in the Federalist Society's Practice Groups

·       Partial travel stipend available to attend National Student Symposium

·       Complementary copies of books and other materials published by the Society

·       Possibility of publication in various Federalist Society publications

Join Now

Stanford Federalist Society
Stanford Law School
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610


"The courts must declare the sense of the law; and if they should be disposed to exercise WILL instead of JUDGMENT, the consequences would be the substitution of their pleasure for that of the legislative body."
-- The Federalist No. 78