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 changing the culture of our nation's law schools. You are returning the values and concepts of law as our founders understood them to scholarly dialogue, and through that dialogue, to our legal institutions."
-- President Ronald Reagan

"The Federalist Society has brought to campus the commitment to real, honest, vigorous, and open discussion. It is a result of the works of the Federalist Society to create a wonderful environment for discussing social, political, legal, and constitutional issues."
-- Dean Paul Brest, Stanford Law School

"It has been my pleasure to speak at many Federalist Society gatherings around the country, and I think one thing your organization has definitely done is to contribute to free speech, free debate, and most importantly public understanding of, awareness of, and appreciation of the Constitution. So that's a marvelous contribution, and in a way I must say I'm jealous at how the Federalist Society has thrived at law schools."
-- Nadine Strossen, President, ACLU

"[The Federalist Society] is not really very revolutionary, but enormously successful for those who are intellectually curious, have a strong interest in our nation's values and institutions, and are sufficiently self-assured to want to hear the best arguments by the best advocates on all sides concerning these subjects."
-- Hon. Theodore Olson, former U.S. Solicitor General

"There was a time when we thought that intellectual ferment was on the left and the right was brain dead. The Federalist Society played a major role in reversing that assumption."
-- Hon. Walter Dellinger, Acting U.S. Solicitor General, 1996-97

"This organization has played an important part in sparking a dialogue between lawyers and judges, and even at times amongst judges themselves...by assiduously avoiding the temptation to take positions, or to lobby and engage in political advocacy. Resisting that temptation takes discipline, I am sure, but rest assured that you have made the right choice and are providing a genuine and unique service in so doing. Stay the course!"
-- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

"It is a great pleasure for me to be in front of the Federalist Society. I am a tremendous admirer of this organization. I agree completely that it has served an enormously valuable function, in getting the debate going about the meaning of the Constitution. The fact that there are two sides to the debate is evidenced by my presence here, today, but your contribution to stimulating a debate, to getting us on the other side to think more clearly about our issues, and to presenting to the American public issues…has performed an enormously useful function."
-- Professor Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School

"I want to commend the [Federalist] Society for bringing together the best minds from right, left, and center to debate the most pressing legal issues of the day."
-- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

"I have never been at a Federalist Society debate that has not been fairly run, that has not aimed high, that has not asked the hard questions and confronted the intellectual problems. [I]t is one of the prizes of the NYU Law School to have a Federalist Society Chapter that is intellectually vigorous and successful in being [such a] part of the mainstream of the intellectual life of this school as the chapter [is] here, and I am very grateful."
-- Professor Burt Neuborne, NYU Law School and former ACLU President

"I love the Federalist Society... These are highly committed, intelligent, hard-working, active students who make the Harvard community better."
-- Dean Elena Kagan, Harvard Law School

"The purpose of the Federalist Society was to bring together young people who had this skepticism about what they were being taught and to let them know that there were others who shared this skepticism."
-- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

"I am proud to say that the Federalist Society was founded in part at the University of Chicago, and one of its best characteristics has been an attack on liberal shibboleths by looking at real consequences and specific problems and by asking what law actually does."
-- Professor Cass Sunstein, University of Chicago Law School

"The Federalist Society has done more for the health of the law than any organization I have witnessed in my career."
-- Judge Robert Bork

"I want to thank you for having me here. I think it's admirable that you set up your program to present diverse viewpoints and invite among you such really very deep-dyed liberals as myself."
-- Professor Barbara Babcock, Stanford Law School

"You [The Federalist Society] have already made…a considerable, an indispensable contribution to the dialogue about the rule of law which lies at the heart of the great freedoms that I am convinced many of us take for granted every single day of our lives. And I salute you for this intellectual vigor in framing the issues… The Federalist Society is a true example of how semi-closed societies can be transformed, at least in part, by allowing new thoughts to be aired and by allowing a free competition of ideas."
-- Chief Judge Ralph Winter, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

"It is not the dignitaries who are the real cause of hope, however. What is an enormously refreshing and hopeful sign is to see the young people who make up the membership of the Federalist Society. Earnest, intelligent, and unpretentious, these are the young men and women of whom any nation and any age could be proud."
-- Thomas Sowell, Hoover Institution

"The Federalist Society has made important contributions to the nation's understanding of our constitutional heritage."
-- Vice President Richard Cheney

"[The Federalist Society] puts a value on open debate, and on the belief that true legal education demands an exposure to a diversity of views, a free and open exchange."
-- Dean Robert Clark, Harvard Law School

"The Federalist Society has developed a reputation for being a lively and open forum for serious discussion about important legal topics. Liberals and conservatives are regularly brought together to debate and exchange views. Not only has the group hosted events with Chief Justice William Rehnquist and former Judge Robert Bork, but other speakers have included Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, American Civil Liberties Union President Nadine Strossen, Congressman Barney Frank and Jamin Raskin of the Rainbow Coalition. I wish every legal group welcomed such a broad array of speakers."
-- Richard Thornburgh, former U.S. Attorney General

"I've done a lot of academic conferences in my career, and I always find the Federalist Society the most enjoyable because the Federalist Society is the organization that is least afraid of inviting people whom they know seriously disagree with them."
-- Professor William Marshall, Northwestern University and Associate White House Counsel under President Bill Clinton

"My message is very simple. It's to applaud the Federalist Society for its extraordinary commitment to the contest of ideas…I applaud the spirit of the Federalist Society in putting in on conferences that really do capture the importance of diversity and viewpoint in education."
-- Dean John Sexton, NYU School of Law

"I have long been an admirer of the academic integrity that characterizes the Federalist Society's symposia…Indeed, the organizers of the gathering have done such an extraordinary job of bringing together participants from all ideological persuasions that this Symposium promises a series of debates and discussions that will become classics in the continuing dialogue about our constitutional order."
-- Dean Robert W. Bennett, Northwestern University School of Law

"This conference continues the admirable tradition of the Federalist Society, a tradition which emphasizes the unique role of law students in fostering a robust marketplace of ideas about law, and in maintaining the interdisciplinary focus of the modern university law school."
-- Dean Robert E. Scott, University of Virginia Law School

"I was told that Federalist Society conventions were intellectually serious, courteous, and open to various points of view, and that has certainly been my experience."
-- Professor Sanford Levinson, University of Texas School of Law

"I'm delighted, as always, to be speaking before a Federalist Society audience. I take every opportunity to accept your speaking invitations. I always feel so at home, and I love reminding folks who may not remember this, among your founding principles is that the state exists to preserve freedom. It reminds me very much of another organization that's near and dear to me."
-- Nadine Strossen, President, ACLU

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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