Monday, March 27, 2006

WORLD Magazine | Weekly News, Christian Views

WORLD Magazine Weekly News, Christian Views

The link is an article on Muslim persecution of converts to Christianity.

Thankfully the current crisis in Afghanistan is resolved peacefully, without the execution of the convert. But the continued hostility to Christian conversion in Islamic nations is unacceptable.

One of my colleagues suggested today that perhaps as a sanction, public Islamic proselytization should be forbidden in the rest of the world.

Killing Babies, Compassionately

Killing Babies, Compassionately

The link is to an excellent article on infanticide in the Netherlands and the historic genocide in Nazi Germany. Bravo for Italy's Carlo Giovanardi for being willing to mention the elephant in the room - the fact that more and more the ideas of the Nazis are creeping into public policy, especially, but not exclusively in Europe.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Anti-conversion Prosecution in Afghanistan

Afghanistan's image in the international community as a budding democracy is being damaged by news that an attorney general in Afghanistan is demanding the death penalty for Abdul Rahman, a man who converted from Islam to Christianity over ten years ago.

According to The Times of London, 3/21/06, the trail judge in the case has already commented that such conversion is a crime. The Afghan Penal Code of 1976 does allow the death penalty for apostasy from Islam.

But Rahman's case is not legally hopeless. The new Afghan constitution provides that Afghanistan shall abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration provides in Article 18 that: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." So under the Afghan Constitution Rahman should be released.

Some would say that the Afghan constitution also says no law can be contrary to Islam, and that this clause cancels the Declaration clause. But, not all Isamic law scholars would agree that that Islamic law requires converts to be killed as opposed to advising that converts be killed. In other words, the Penal Code could be waived by the constitution without the waiver being against Islamic law as understood by moderates. Pray that the moderate view prevails and that Afghanistan's courts will follow the Golden Rule and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and allow religious freedom in their country.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Legislation to remedy Kelo

A friend in Washington recently e-mailed me this news about new legislation:

"As you know, in Kelo v New London, the United States Supreme Court expanded the authority of local governments to exercise the power of eminent domain for public purposes which include a use which enhances the economic value of the property. One measure of this is the tax revenues which would flow to local coffers. Thus, if a local government determined that wiping out a neighborhood and building a strip mall would enhance the economic use of the property, there would be nothing to stop them. In terms of political influence, guess who has more pull between wealthy developers who contribute to the campaign coffers of local politicians or low and middle income homeowners.

It is up to the Congress and State Legislatures to respond to this declaration of war against American neighborhoods and communities. In this regard, Congressman James Sensenbrenner, Dan Lungren, Shiela Jackson Lee and a bipartisan group within the House introduced H.R. 3135 to deny federal funds to any use of eminent domain where the property involved would not be available for use by the general public, or as a public facility, or to remove harmful effects. The legislation passed the House but has become stalled in the Senate. This is perhaps one of the most significant Constitutional issues facing our communities."

This is an exciting development. Kelo was a very bad decision, and will take years to overturn. In the meantime legislatures, including Congress need to act to protect the public from overreaching by the government.

Freedom and the Golden Rule

In connection with our law school’s speaker series, we recently had two sessions with Sam Ericsson, the head of Advocates International. Advocates International is a low profile group that works for international religious freedom and human rights. Rather than proclaiming human rights violations in the media, Advocates tends to work behind the scenes to rectify them. They try to serve the justice systems of governments around the world in order to help them do the right thing. Sam Ericsson pointed out that he has had a great deal of success merely discussing the idea of the Golden Rule with ministers of justice and other officials in governments around the world.

Of course, the Golden Rule is a simple idea: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The logic of this idea is inescapable. We also want to be treated well. There are almost always situations in which each of us is in the position of weakness and someone else is in the position of strength. We want to be treated well by those who are in the position of strength. Hence it is only rational that we should treat others when we are in the position of strength in the same way that we want to be treated when we are in the position of weakness. In terms of religious liberty, this means that if we would like to be able to worship freely and proselytize to convert others to our religion, we should be willing to allow others to worship freely and proselytize people to their religion.

The historical tolerance for religious differences in the West developed exactly for this reason. During the wars following the Reformation, Catholics and Protestants were fighting against each other until they finally came to the realization that if they did not want to be persecuted when they were the minority, they ought not to persecute others while they were the majority. Hence a sort of religious truce was obtained.

The International Declaration of Human Rights and some periods of American foreign policy have sought to spread the same kind of truce worldwide. Some difficulty has been experienced in spreading this idea. In areas where people have experienced the domination of their own religion to the almost complete exclusion of other religions, it still seems possible for them to believe that they can continue to treat other religions as they would not want to be treated themselves because the reverse situation will not occur. Some religions, like Islam, even maintain that other religions must submit or be eliminated.

While religious violence was necessary in Old Testament times to protect the integrity of God’s chosen people Israel in a world full of violent, idolatrous empires, and while religious violence was tempting in times and places where states were each dominated by a single religion which was hostile to the religion held by a country’s “natural enemies,” the Golden Rule is still a dominant principle of Christianity and a principle which ultimately implies a requirement for a certain amount of religious toleration.

There is always a temptation to try to rationalize this. One could say that because Christianity is true and other religions are false, that we should encourage people to believe in Christianity, with all available legal means, on the ground that if we believed something false, we would want people to do everything necessary to bring us into belief in the truth. But I would like to suggest that as far as ideas are concerned, all of us would rather be persuaded rather than converted to an idea at the point of a sword or taxed into belief in an idea by an oppressive government. Even though it is true that we would all like to be led to believe in the truth, and that Christianity is indeed true, it still makes sense to say that because of the Golden Rule we should seek to persuade others to the truth through preaching and example rather than through force or the power of government. In the end, I think that if people understand that Christianity is committed to “gentle persuasion” rather than to the use of force to propagate its ideas, they would be far more willing to believe in the truth of Christianity.

The problem still remains to convince other religions of the need to evaluate truth objectively and to adopt what is true trans-culturally rather than to assume that one’s own ancestors were correct and to use violence to prevent anyone from straying from the ancestral commitment. The very fact that Islam maintains its dominance in many parts of the world, in part at least, by forbidding its adherents to even consider whether or not Islam is true or false, does not make me impressed with the claims of Islam. Undoubtedly, if Christianity were maintained by force, people would have a similar skepticism concerning its claims to truth.

Sam Ericsson made a similar argument about the applicability of the Golden Rule. He pointed out that the first murder in human history—Cain killing Abel, was an act of religious violence since Cain was bitter and jealous over Abel’s successful worship of God and God’s refusal to accept Cain’s heretical worship of God. Cain failed in his worship of God because he sought to offer God fruits and vegetables rather than the blood of a sacrificed animal. This was a failure to take sin seriously. God’s whole point in using animal sacrifice in the Old Testament is that sin is so serious that it can only be atoned for through death—the shedding of blood. Fruits and vegetables are not enough to atone for sin. Of course God Himself ultimately atoned for our sin in the sacrifice of Himself as Jesus on the cross. Jesus, fully human and fully divine, was in a position where it was appropriate for Him to offer a sacrifice to atone for human beings because He was a human being and yet in a position where He had something of enough value to atone for human sin against God because He was God and had a life of infinite value and perfection. In the Old Testament, God required the sacrifice as a foreshadowing of His own sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. Cain was rebelling against God’s appointed means of salvation by refusing to worship God as God sought to be worshipped. He was jealous of Abel’s success with God. Rather than accept Abel’s success and conform religiously, he committed the first act of religious violence by killing his brother Abel. Even today, most religious violence is motivated by a similar rebellion against God’s actual standards and an insistence that we should be able to impose our own religious views on others. As the one faith that identifies and spreads the good news of God’s own sacrifice for our sins, it only makes sense that Christianity cannot and should not propagate itself through religious violence. We have no reason to be jealous of others whose religions are false. Instead, we have reason to pity them and to seek to persuade them with love and kind persuasion.

Undoubtedly, the next thing that will occur to our critics, however, is that if Christianity is a religion of love and does not use force to propagate its ideas, why do Christians insist that human law must still conform to the limits of the moral law? The answer is that the purpose of government is to maintain order and preserve the lives and property of human beings as an extension of God’s governance of the universe. Human law must be merciful because all of us fall short of God’s absolute standard. But human law must also maintain order within the parameters of God’s moral law. Human law must punish evil and reward good. It must not reward evil and punish good. If human law chooses not to reward some good, that is acceptable. If it chooses not to punish some evils, that may likewise be acceptable. But human law cannot transgress the boundaries of the moral law by persecuting those who do good and rewarding those who do evil. In this the government clearly has a different role and purpose than the church. Sam Ericsson spoke about this as well in his visit. He uses a description involving circles to show the idea that there are some areas of life that should be under the authority of the church, some under the authority of government, and some under the authority of the family. There are some areas of overlap and some areas of independence. While I do not find this metaphor of the circles to be ideal, it is nevertheless true that God’s design and purpose for government and His design and purpose for His church are not the same. While the government should not try to convert people or prevent conversions, the whole purpose of government is tied to morality. So governments must act under the guidance of “religious truth” about morality even though they cannot force belief in religious truth about the means of salvation.

Providentially, while human sinfulness in individuals and cultures affects how we feel about and apply moral principles, moral principles themselves are universal. Real wise and orthodox Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, classic Pagans, Jews, Muslims, and Christians all recognize most of the same moral principles. The real difference is in their views about God, man, reality, and salvation, not morality. When they have differences of opinion about the morality of the act, it is usually the view of reality that is in question. For example, even the Islamo-facists believe it is wrong to kill innocent people – they just do not regard anyone who disagrees with them as “innocent.” While this sort of disagreement is serious, it is not a disagreement about moral principle. It is a disagreement about the nature of God, man, and reality.

So, government should have laws based on moral principles, imperfectly as humans understand the world. But, government should not persecute or compel belief in a particular set of views about God, man, reality, and salvation. It will have to act based on such ideas, it will even have to allow some set of ideas to be taught is school. Because religion is a label for ones understanding of such things, everyone has a religion of sorts, and it is impossible for government to be “neutral” between views about such things as man and reality, the radical liberal dream of government without religion is impossible. Government must make decisions based on the wisdom of its leaders about reality and morality. But it still should not compel belief in a particular religion.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Rights and wrongs

BreakPoint Give Me Liberty and Give Me Death

Here is a link to a good article on the so called right to die. One of the many reasons we need evangelical Christian law schools is because, not only people in general, but even Christians, have an improper understanding of the whole notion of rights.

There are, in human law, subjective and objective rights. The subjective rights are opportunities, entitlements, abilities, or protected areas created by the government, through positive human law, for the benefit of the common good. One example would be the right to assert the statute of limitations as a defense to a lawsuit filed after the time limit allowed by law. Subjective rights are artificial. They can be changed, added to, or destroyed according to the will of the people expressed through their elected representatives. They should be limited to enactments that are for the common good and that reward good or punish evil. They should not be allowed to reward evil, punish good, or promote purely private gain at the expense of the public and the state. The same things could also be said about state created duties.

Objective rights are the kind most people think of when they mention rights. The Declaration of Independence mentions rights from our creator: those are objective rights. Objective rights come from God. They relate to the kind of thing something is within God's design and order for creation. Because human beings are made in the image of God, and are all the same kind of thing, all sorts of objective rights follow, including, but not limited to, the right not to be murdered, the right not to be injured unnecessarily or unreasonably, the right to worship God, the right to be unrestrained in choosing among goods, and the right to engage in virtuous conduct. Objective rights are predispositions of justice flowing from the divine nature. They reflect things about how God designed humans to function and relate to one another and to the world around them.

Radical autonomy, the basis of the rights claimed by libertarians, is not part of God's order or plan for human beings. While it is true that no human has the authority to order others around and create subjective rights and duties apart from what God defines as a proper human government, God does have a right to govern us. And human laws based on God's laws are binding even when they limit radical personal autonomy.

Community, the basis upon which the left seeks to create endless duties, is also limited by the divine order, and bound to recognize real objective rights and bound to refrain from creating fake subjective rights to do evil.

Under the divine order there can be no right to murder a human being made in the image of God, even if that human being is either yourself or your baby.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Progress on the Patriot Act

U.S. House Judiciary Committee

The house judiciary committee is making considerable progress on the Patriot Act. Modifications have been made to answer those concerned about abuses (though none have been shown to have taken place) while doing as much as practicable to protect Americans from terrorist threats. The following press release has been put out:

Sensenbrenner: House Approves Legislation
Completing PATRIOT Act Reauthorization

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House today by a 280-to-138 margin approved legislation that will complete Congress's consideration of the PATRIOT Act reauthorization by making 3 changes to the House-Senate compromise conference report adopted by the House in December by a 251-to-174 margin and last week by an 89-to-10 vote in the Senate.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.), the sponsor of the original and reauthorization PATRIOT Act legislation, stated, "The PATRIOT Act has become a critical tool in America's law enforcement arsenal and a vital deterrent against terrorist subversion. It has made Americans safer, safeguarded our civil liberties, and upheld our constitutional values."
"The Justice Department and other agencies have properly utilized the PATRIOT Act to detect, disrupt and dismantle terrorist cells in New York, Virginia and Oregon before they strike. The PATRIOT Act also has helped tear down the pre-9/11 'wall' that prevented law enforcement and intelligence agencies from sharing critical information necessary to avert terrorist attacks on American soil," added Chairman Sensenbrenner.

The three changes made in the conference committee have been listed by my source as follows:

1. A person receiving a Section 215 order (the so-called business record provision) will have the right to challenge its legality.

2. A person making a disclosure to a third party (where the third party is necessary to carrying out the directions of the order) is required to disclose to the FBI to whom the disclosure will be made. The change in the language creates an exception that disclosure of the identity of an attorney is not required.

3. In general, NSLÂ’s will not apply to libraries since they are not electronic communication service providers (unless of course the library provided the services necessary to be an electronic service provider.

Mysourcee also lists the following Additional Civil Liberties Protections in the new version of the Patriot Act:

"The amended version of the bill contains among other things, the following civil liberties protections:

The Conference Report will sunset in 4 years the most controversial provisions of the Act relating to roving wiretaps, section 215 order (concerning the production of books, records, papers, documents and other tangible things), and the so-called “lone wolf” provisions.

The Conference Report requires that the FISA Court judgeÂ’s order authorizing a roving wiretap to spiffy the identity if known, of the specific target of the surveillance.

The Conference report requires investigators to inform the FISA Court within 10 days when the roving surveillance authority is used to target a “new” facility.

The Conference report explicitly provides for a judicial challenge to a national security letter.

The Conference report also provides for a judicial challenge to a 215 order.

The conference Report explicitly provides a FISA Court judge the discretion to not only approve or modify a Section 215 application, but also to deny the application.

The Conference Report requires that the Section 215 application must include a statement of facts demonstrating the records sought are relevant to an authorized investigation to obtain terrorism or foreign intelligence information.

The Conference report requires minimization procedures to limit retention and dissemination of information obtained about US persons from Section 215 requests.

When documents sought relate to certain sensitive categories of records(bookstore, tax returns, educational and medical records the FBI Director, Deputy Director, or Official in Charge of Intelligence must approve a 215 order or it may not be approved.

A recipient of a 215 order may disclose receipt of the order to an attorney or others necessary to comply with or challenge the order.

The Justice DepartmentÂ’s Independent Inspector General will be required to conduct an audit of each DOJ use of Section 215 orders.

The non-disclosure requirement will attach to an NSL only upon certification by the government that disclosure could cause one of the harms specified in the conference report e.g. endangering a witness or threatening national security. "

Supporters of the bill argue this new version of the act represent balanceallance between the need to pinnocentinocent human life and the need to protect liberties our other rights. The Pro-Patricoalitionllition has really gone out of their way to address the hypothetical concerns of the skeptics despite the fact that no evidence was brought before the congress of any actual abuses of the Patriot Act as it was before the changes in 13 hearings on the law.

Despite the willingness of many to go back into a complacent pre-9/11 mindset, the terrorist groups have not. They are still at war with us, and will remain so as long as they have the ability to do so. The recent aaroundarround the world and the public statements of the jihadists show that their war continues even if we have been blessed wiimmediatelyediatly fatal enemy terrorist victories in the U.S.

Preventing a terrorist act is far more difficult than typical criminal law efforts to investigate crimes that have aoccurredoccured. And the stakes are far higher. The U.S. needs the tools of the Patriot Act to help prevent the death and destruction the terrorists seek to dish out.

Action on Patriot Act

According to one of my Washington sources, today, March 7, 2006 the House of Representatives was set to take up the Senate changes in the PATRIOT Act. On the table were the following attempts to change the act coming from the Senate:

1. National security letters (administrative search warrants) will not be used with respect to libraries.
2. A process is established to allow an person to challenge requests under section 215 of the Act regarding items such as books, records and other tangible things.
3. An affected person cannot be required to submit the name of their attorney to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Senate changes will be brought up under the Suspension of the Rules which requires a two-thirds vote in the House.

I must admit I have not been unhappy with the act as it is. If terrorists are looking at books on a particular tourist attraction of building, I would want our government to be able to discover that with the least fuss and risk of tipping off the terrorists as possible. I am also not worried about the government accidentally getting a list of the books I check out at the library. After all, if the books were so embarrassing I would not want the librarian to know either.

Wisdom of Solomon

Trinity Law School has always been eager to host recruiters from the U.S. armed forces or other agencies of the Federal Government. But not all law schools are so supportive of the military.

The Supreme Court of the United States has once again within this term presented us with an opinion which is both unanimous and happy in its outcome. A group of law schools associating under the label FAIR have been unhappy for some time with the congressionally authorized Defense Department policy of not allowing openly homosexual persons to serve in the Military. Because of their unhappiness, they have sought to prevent Defense Department recruiters from recruiting on campus. The Congress in turn has sought to pressure the law schools into allowing military recruiting with a law called the Solomon Amendment. The Solomon Amendment basically requires a law school to provide equal access by military recruiters. Under the law, military recruiters are entitled to the same treatment provided to recruiters of any other type. If an institution violates the law, it can lose federal funding.

A large number of law schools (not including Trinity Law School) challenged the Solomon Amendment and their challenge ultimately found its way to the Supreme Court under the title Rumsfeld v Form for Academic and Institutional Rights Inc.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court rejected the positions put forward by FAIR and a variety of amicus briefs. In first dealing with the amicus briefs, the Court rejected the idea that the Solomon Amendment could be fairly interpreted to allow the law schools to discriminate against the Military if they also discriminated against other organizations that would not sign their non-discrimination policies. The Court noted that the Solomon Amendment does not focus on the content of the school’s recruiting policy, but rather upon equal access without regard to content. “Law schools must ensure that their recruiting policy operates in such a way that military recruiters are given access to students at least equal to that provided to any other employer.” This is another small victory that shows that the current Supreme Court is willing to interpret statutes properly, looking at their text and the intended meaning communicated by that text and the context in which it appears. Had the Court gone the other way, they would have been rejecting the obvious purpose of the Solomon Amendment and attributing to the text a meaning that it did not have.

The Court noted that Congress had the power to enact the Solomon Amendment under the Constitution’s grant of power to provide for the common defense. The Court noted too that denial of funding based upon conditions has already been upheld in many contexts including Title IX of the Education Amendments. The Court said “Congress is free to attach reasonable and unambiguous conditions to federal financial assistance that educational institutions are not obliged to accept.” The Court also noted though that Congress’ ability to “place conditions on receipt of funds” is not unlimited. The government may not withhold funds in violation of a constitutional right or in order to infringe upon a constitutional right. The Court notes, however, that here the Congress had the constitutional power to require the schools to provide access to military recruiters and hence they could not be violating the Constitution by withholding funds in vindication of that power. The Court said, “Because the First Amendment would not prevent Congress from directly imposing the Solomon Amendment’s access requirement, the statute does not place an unconstitutional condition on the receipt of federal funds.”

The Court then went into the question of whether or not the Solomon Amendment in any way interfered with the law school’s freedom of speech or association. It wisely concludes that it does not. “The Solomon Amendment neither limits what the law schools may say nor requires them to say anything. Law schools may remain free under the statute to express whatever views they may have on the Military’s congressionally mandated employment policy, all the while retaining eligibility for federal funds.” The Court concludes that “the Solomon Amendment regulates conduct, not speech. It affects what the law schools must do—afford equal access to military service recruiters—not what they may or may not say.” This conclusion is very encouraging. Over the years, the Court had become more and more absurd in determining what is and what is not protected speech. Things had become so bad that the public expression of obscenities and exotic dancing are considered protected speech but some forms of political speech under the First Amendment are not given the protection of free speech. Hopefully, the Rumsfeld case is some evidence that the pendulum is swinging back and that the Court will take a more common sense view of the difference between speech and conduct.

The Court noted that the Solomon Amendment is not putting speech in the mouths of the schools simply because recruiters are allowed to be on campus or to speak on campus. Schools were required to put out notices of the recruiter’s presence if they put out notices for other recruiters. But this was not compelling the schools to undertake a “message” that they in some way disagreed with. The Court noted, quoting a previous opinion, that “words can in some circumstances violate laws directed not against speech but against conduct.” But that “compelling a law school that sends scheduling emails for other recruiters to send one for military recruiters is simply not the same as forcing a student to pledge allegiance, or forcing a Jehovah’s Witness to display the motto ‘Live Free or Die,’ and it trivializes the freedom protected in Barnette and Wooley to suggest that it is.”

The Court also distinguished cases involving parades where the Court had allowed organizations to exclude organizations that did not share their ideals from being part of a parade. The Court noted that in those cases, compelling participation would interfere with the speaker’s message. But in this case, “accommodating the Military’s message does not affect the law school’s speech, because the schools are not speaking when they host interviews and recruiting receptions.” The Court concludes, “Nothing about recruiting suggests the law school agrees with any speech by recruiters, and nothing in the Solomon Amendment restricts what the law schools may say about the Military’s policies.”

The Court does continue to endorse a line of cases that is somewhat troublesome by concluding that some kinds of conduct is inherently expressive and protected by the First Amendment. But the High Court rejects the idea that recruiting is that sort of expressive conduct. “The expressive component in a law school’s actions is not created by the conduct itself, but by the speech that accompanies it. The fact that such explanatory speech is necessary is strong evidence that the conduct at issue here is not so inherently expressive that it warrants protection under O’Brien.”

The Court also rejects FAIR’s argument that the Solomon Amendment violates their freedom of expressive association. The Court notes that “to comply with the statute, law schools must allow military recruiters on campus and assist them in whatever way the school chooses to assist other employers. Law schools therefore ‘associate’ with military recruiters in the sense that they interact with them. But recruiters are not part of the law school. Recruiters are, by definition outsiders who come on to campus for the limited purpose of trying to hire students—not to become members of the school’s expressive association. This distinction is critical. Unlike public accommodations law in Dale, the Solomon Amendment does not force a law school ‘to accept members it does not desire.’” The Court further said “students and faculty are free to associate to voice their disapproval of the Military’s message; nothing about the statute affects the composition of the group by making a group membership less desirable. The Solomon Amendment therefore does not violate a law school’s First Amendment rights.”

A robust freedom of speech and association is a good thing. But it is not appropriate to stretch the protection of the First Amendment to cover conduct that is evil or against public policy. Here the Court has made a principle decision upholding many of its prior speech and association cases, but ending what it characterizes as FAIR’s attempt to stretch First Amendment doctrines beyond the sort of activities that those doctrines actually protect.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Students often ask me what books would be helpful to read in order too prepare for law school. This is difficult because law school involves complex issues that have not been systematically or well addressed by evangelical scholars and works specifically on human law. As a result, I cannot recommend a single book that will give you a complete perspective on the law. Instead, it is necessary to read a whole variety of books and synthesize the materials in order to come to a proper understanding of human law from a biblical perspective. So for that synthesis, and to prepare yourself for studying human law and understanding legal systems, I would recommend the following:

1. The Bible

2. Carl Llewellyn – The Bramble Bush (Oceana Publications Inc.)

3. Scalia – A Matter of Interpretation (Princeton University Press)

4. Arkes – Natural Rights and the Right to Choose (Cambridge University Press

5. J. Budziszewski – What We Can’t Not Know (Spence Publishing Co.)

6. J. Budziszewski – Written on the Heart, The Case for Natural Law (Intervarsity Press)

7. Kirk – The Roots of the American Order (Regnery Gateway)

8. Ronald Nash – The Word of God and the Mind of Man (P & R Publishing)

9. C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity, The Abolition of Man, Studies in Words and The Weight of Glory

10. Gordon H. Clark – The Johanniane Logos, God’s Hammer, Language and Theology, and A Christian View of Men and Things

11. Rabin and Sugarman – Tort Stories (Foundation Press)

12. Baird – Contract Stories (Foundation Press) and other books in Foundation Press’ “Stories” series or “Law Stories” series

13. Plato – The Laws

14. Aristotle – The Ethics

15. Cicero – The Republic and the Laws

16. Augustine of Hippo – The City of God

17. Thomas Aquinas – Treatise on Law from the Summa Theologica

18. John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion IV, chapter XX

19. Hooker – Politics of Ecclesiastical Polity

20. Blackstone – Commentaries on the Laws of England, Introduction, sections I-IV

21. Harold Berman – Law and Revolution I and II
22. Arthur Hogue – Origins of the Common Law

23. Harold Burman – Faith and Order, the Reconciliation of Law and Religion

24. Roscoe Pound – The Development of Constitutional Guarantees of Liberty (Yale University Press 1957)

25. Francis Schaeffer – How Should We Then Live and The Christian Manifesto

26. Lee Cameron McDonald – Western Political Theory, Parts 1, 2 and 3 (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc. 1968)

27. Paul Johnson– A History of the American People

28. John Warwick Montgomery – Human Rights and Human Dignity

29. Stephen Smith – Law’s Quandary (Harvard University Press 2004)

30. Norman Geisler – Christian Ethics (Baker Bookhouse)

31. Anthony D’Amato, Analytic Jurisprudence Anthology (Anderson Publishing Company)

Add to all of that as many actual famous case opinions as you can read, prominent horn books
on major legal subjects such as Prosser on Torts, , or any good books on the black letter law, any good books on history, and any books you can find by major influencers of the law (which usually have to be analyzed critically because they are probably full of all sorts of terrible theory), and you have an excellent foundation for preparing your mind for law school. Some good works on logical thinking and the informal fallacies couldn’t hurt either.

While I may modify this list in future posts, it provides a very good start for students who want to know what sorts of things they could look at to get ready for law school.