Overview

Since 1961, Scribes has presented an annual award for the best work of legal scholarship published during the previous year. The Scribes Book-Award Committee generally receives between 40 and 50 nominees each year, and nominations are due by February 15. The Scribes Book Award is presented at Scribes’ annual meeting.

Recipients

2022

Winner:

Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights by Erwin Chemerinsky

Honorable Mention:

Sexual Justice: Supporting Victims, Ensuring Due Process, and Resisting the Conservative Backlash by Alexandra Brodsky

The Rule of Laws:

A 4,000-Year Quest to Order the World by Fernanda Pirie

2021

Winner:

Law and Leviathan: Redeeming the Administrative State by Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule

2020

Winner: 

Intimate Lies and the Law by Jill Elaine Hasday

Honorable Mention:

The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America by Daniel Okrent

2019

Winner: 

We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler

Honorable Mentions:

The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind by Justin Driver

We Face the Dawn: Oliver Hill, Spottswood Robinson, and the Legal Team That Dismantled Jim Crow by Margaret Edds

2018​​

Winner: 

The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World by Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J.   Shapiro

Honorable Mentions:

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

Miles Lord: The Maverick Judge Who Brought Corporate America to Justice by Roberta Walburn

2017

Winner: Impact:

How Law Affects Behavior by Lawrence M. Friedman

Honorable Mentions:

John Henry Wigmore and the Rules of Evidence: The Hidden Origins of Modern Law by Andrew Porwancher

Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections by Richard L. Hasen

2016

Co-Winner: 

Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America by Wil Haygood

Co-Winner: 

The Big Trial: Law as Public Spectacle by Lawrence M. Friedman

Honorable Mentions:

Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu & His Quest for Justice by Lorraine K. Bannai

Imperial from the Beginning: The Constitution of the Original Executive by Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash

2015

First Place: 

The Birth of American Law: An Italian Philosopher and the American Revolution by John D. Bessler

Honorable Mentions:

Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison by Nell Bernstein

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

The Opening of American Law: Neoclassical Legal Thought 1870 – 1970 by Herbert Hovenkamp

2014

First Place: 

Boilerplate:  The Fine Print, Vanishing Rights, and the Rule of Law by Margaret Jane Radin

Second Place: 

A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America by Evan J. Mandery

2013

First Place: 

Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History by John Fabian Witt

Second Place: 

amashita’s Ghost: War Crimes, MacArthur’s Justice, and Command Accountability by Allan A. Ryan

2012

First Place: 

Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms by Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis

Second Place:

Habeas Corpus After 9/11: Confronting America’s New Global Detention System by Jonathan Hafetz

Third Place:

We Must Not Be Afraid To Be Free: Stories of Free Expression in America by Ronald K.L. Collins and Sam Chaltain

2011

Winner: 

Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices  by Noah Feldman

Honorable Mentions:

In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Educational Landmark by Martha Minow

From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation & Constitutional Law by Martha C. Nussbaum

Five Miles Away, A World Apart: One City, Two Schools, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in Modern America by James E. Ryan

2010

Winner: 

The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates by John Temple

Honorable Mentions:

John Brown’s Trial by Brian McGinty

Judgment Calls: Principle and Politics in Constitutional Law by Daniel A. Farber and Suzanna Sherry

The Will of The People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution by Barry Friedman

2009

Winner:

The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power by Jonathan Mahler

Honorable Mentions:

Democracy’s Prisoner: Eugene V. Debs, the Great War and the Right to Dissent by Ernest Freeberg

The Common Law in Colonial America, Volume I: The Chesapeake and New England, 1607-1660 by William E. Nelson

2008

Winner:

Landmark Law Cases and American Society series Peter Charles Hoffer and N.E.H. Hull, Editors

Honorable Mention:

Law and Order in Buffalo Bill’s Country: Legal Culture and Community on the Great Plains, 1867-1910 by Mark R. Ellis

2007

Winner:

Guantánamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power by Joseph Margulies

Honorable Mentions:

Before the Next Attack: Preserving Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism by Bruce Ackerman

Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World by Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu

2006

Winner:
Insincere Promises: The Law of Misrepresented Intent by Ian Ayres and Gregory Klass

2005

Winner:

Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime by Geoffrey R. Stone

2004

Winner:

The Slaughterhouse Cases: Regulation, Reconstruction, and the Fourteenth Amendment by Ronald M. Labbé and Jonathan Lurie

2003

Winner:

American Law in the 20th Century by Lawrence M. Friedman

Honorable Mentions:

Women in the Barracks: The VMI Case and Equal Rights by Philippa Strum

In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 by Mary Beth Norton

2002

Winner:

Fredrick L. McGhee: A Life on the Color Line 1861-1912 by Paul D. Nelson

2001

Winner:

Judging Jehovah’s Witnesses: Religious Persecution and the Dawn of the Rights Revolution by Shawn Francis Peters

2000

Co-Winners:

Framing American Divorce by Norma Basch

Black’s Law Dictionary (7th ed.) by Bryan Garner, Editor in Chief

1999

Winner:

Cardozo by Andrew L. Kaufman

Honorable Mentions:

The Bill of Rights by Akhil Reed Amar

Changing Your Mind: The Law of Regretted Decisions by E. Allan Farnsworth

1998

Winner:

Roscoe Pound and Karl Llewellyn: Searching for an American Jurisprudence by N.E.H. Hull

Honorable Mentions:

Free Speech in its Forgotten Years 1870-1920 by David M. Rabban

Most Humble Servants by Stewart Jay

1997

Winner:

Worse than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice by David M. Oshinsky

1996

Winner:

A Civil Action by Jonathon Harr

1995

Winner:

Hugo Black: A Biography by Roger Newman

Honorable Mention:

Child Witnesses: Fragile Voices in the American Legal System by Lucy S. McGough

1994

Winner:

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: Law and the Inner Self by G. Edward White

Honorable Mention:

Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations by Fred R. Shapiro

1993

Winner:

Dream Makers, Dream Breakers: The World of Justice Thurgood Marshall by Carl T. Rowan

Honorable Mention:

The Constitution in Conflict by Robert A. Burt

1992

Winner:

The Fourth Estate and the Constitution by Lucas A. Scot Powe, Jr.

Honorable Mention:

William Wayne Justice: A Judicial Biography by Frank R. Kemerer

1991

Winner:

The Death of the Irreparable Injury Rule by Douglas Laycock

Honorable Mention:

Cardozo: A Study in Reputation and the Problems of Jurisprudence by Richard A. Posner

1990

Winner:

Honorable Justice: The Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes by Sheldon M. Novick

Honorable Mentions:

The Electronic Media and the Transformation of Law by M. Ethan Katsh

Battle for Justice: How the Bork Nomination Shook America by Ethan Bronner

1989

Winner:

Constitutional Faith by Sanford Levinson

1988

Winner:

Abortion and Divorce in Western Law by Mary Ann Glendon

Honorable Mentions:

A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage by Bryan A. Garner

Natural Law and Justice by Lloyd L. Weinreb

1987

Winner:

Art Law: Rights and Liabilities of Creators and Collectors by Franklin Feldman, Stephen Weil, and Susan Duke Biederman

Honorable Mentions:

The Fundamentals of Legal Drafting by F. Reed Dickerson

The Supreme Court and the American Family: Ideology and Issues by Eva R. Rubin

1986

Winner:

The Federal Courts: Crisis and Reform by Richard A. Posner

Honorable Mentions:

Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain by Richard Epstein

Citizenship Without Consent: Illegal Aliens in the American Polity by Peter H. Schuck and Rogers M. Smith

1985

Winner:

When Words Lose Their Meaning: Constitution and Reconstitutions of Language, Character, and Community by James Boyd White

1984

Winner:

Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition by Harold J. Berman

1983

Winner:

When Government Speaks: Law, Politics, and Government Expression in America by Mark G. Yudof

1982

Winner:

Women in Law by Cynthia Fuchs Epstein

1981

Winner:

Independent Journey: The Life of W. O. Douglas by James F. Simon

1980

Winner:

The Grammatical Lawyer by Morton S. Freeman

1979

Winner:

Hugo Black and the Judicial Revolution by Gerald T. Dunne

1978

Winner:

American Constitutional Law by Laurence H. Tribe

1977

Winner:

Changing Law:  A Biography of Arthur T. Vanderbilt by Arthur T. Vanderbilt

1976

Winner:

Simple Justice by Richard Kluger

1975

Winner:

Appellate Judicial Opinions by Robert A. Leflar

1974

Winner:

A History of American Law by Lawrence M. Friedman

1973

Winner:

A Question of Judgment: The Fortas Case and the Struggle for the Supreme Court by Robert Shogan

1972

Winner:

The Defense Never Rests by F. Lee Bailey

1971

[No Award Given]

1970

Winner:

The Justices of the United States Supreme Court, 1789–1969, Their Lives and Major Opinions (4 vols.) by Leon Friedman and Fred L. Israel

1969

Winner:

On Law and Justice by Paul Freund

1968

Winner:

The Lawyers by Martin Mayer

1967

Winner:

The Jury Returns by Louis Nizer

1966

[No Award Given]

1965

Winner:

Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel by James B. Donovan

1964

Winner:

The Language of the Law by David Mellinkoff

1963

Winner:

A Bill Becomes a Law: Congress Enacts Civil Rights Legislation by Daniel M. Berman

1962

Winner:

Death and the Supreme Court by E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr.

1961

Co-Winners:

Felix Frankfurter: Scholar on the Bench by Helen Shirley Thomas

The People and the Court: Judicial Review in a Democracy by Charles Lund Black