The most creative books in American law

June 11, 2008

Robert F. Blomquist surveyed 426 law professors who have taught legal history for his paper, Thinking About Law and Creativity: On the 100 Most Creative Moments in American Law (Valparaiso University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-04, May 2008). Below I've extracted the books and articles that appear in Blomquist's top 100. I provide links for those books that are in the Yale Law Library's online catalog, MORRIS. Legislation and court cases make up the majority of the list, and I did not include these, although arguably The Federalist (1788) is a component of the #1 creative moment, "The Constitution of the United States (1787) and the ratification debates (1787-1788)."

You can find a brief critique of Blomquist's paper on Mary Dudziak's Legal History Blog.

Most Creative Books in American Law...

15. James Kent, Commentaries on American Law (1826-30).
16. Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833).
17. Christopher Columbus Langdell’s initiation of the case method of study at Harvard Law School initiated by his casebook, A Selection of Cases on the Law of Contracts (1871).
18. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., The Common Law (1881).
27. Benjamin Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process (1921).
43. Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962).
44. Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (1949).
46. Charles Reich, The Greening of America (1970).
54. Richard Posner, Economic Analysis of Law (1973).
55. Hart & Sacks, The Legal Process (1958).
68. Al Gore, Earth in the Balance (1992) and An Inconvenient Truth (2006).
79. The Politics of Law (1982).

Most Creative Law Review Articles in American Law...

45. Justice Douglas’ dissent in Sierra Club v. Morton (1972) (citing Christopher D. Stone, Should Trees Have Standing?--Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects, 45 Southern California Law Review 450 (1972).
75. Samuel D. Warren & Louis D. Brandeis, Right to Privacy, 4 Harvard Law Review 193 (1890).

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