Ryan McCarl

Reading, writing, learning, languages, law, politics, etc.

Books I found helpful during the first year of law school (1L)

Last summer and fall, I did a bit of research to try and identify books and study aids that might be helpful during my first year of law school.  There are hundreds of products out there, and some are considerably more useful than others.  I wanted to put together a list of the books I found to be most valuable for any incoming law students (or self-educators interested in reading about law) who might be interested: Read more →

Excerpts from Klein, Warren, Chirelstein, and Gluck

Customs grow out of social processes whose details are highly individuated in regards to the type of activity, the individuals involved, their reputational pedigree, the knowledge they have about each other, and so on.  Viewing cultural evolution as deeply and densely rooted process may make one doubt the wisdom of government attempts to fine tune, guide, or supplant it.  It is highly unlikely that the blunt instruments of government will be well suited to cultivating the growth of delicate, teeming, unique interactions. Read more →

Discovering the letters of Justice William O. Douglas

I was sorting through some books in my closet yesterday, and I discovered a fantastic book which drew me away from my regular reading: The Douglas Letters: Selections from the Private Papers of William O. Douglas, edited by Melvin I. Urkofsky. William O. Douglas was a brilliant, contrarian Associate Justice on the Supreme Court as well as a transformative environmentalist and New Dealer who crusaded against rampant speculation and corruption in the financial industry. Read more →

Quotes from Hugo Black and Lon L. Fuller

Every departure from the principles of the law’s inner morality is an affront to man’s dignity as a responsible agent. To judge his actions by unpublished or retrospective laws, or to order him to do an act that is impossible, is to convey to him your indifference to his powers of self-determination. … I believe that if we were forced to select the principle that supports and infuses all human aspiration we would find it in the objective of maintaining communication with our fellows. Read more →

A vacation and a reading list: a personal update

It’s hard to believe how quickly things happen. My summer term - roughly six hours a day, five days a week of education classes - is drawing to a close, and as of Friday afternoon I’ll be free for an entire month (the life of a student is good - certainly beats two or three weeks of vacation over the course of a year). I’ll be in Colorado (Boulder, Telluride, Denver) for almost two weeks, in Chicago for one, and in Muskegon for one - as well as a few days of camping in Northern Michigan with friends. Read more →