Fall in Love with Our Collection

February 14, 2024

Valentines’ day is here again, being met with celebration by many, or not so much depending on who you ask! However, beyond the chocolates, flowers, and heartfelt sentiments lies a legal landscape entwined with intriguing aspects of relationships, contracts, and rights. Below is a short list of books here in our collection that may help you explore the fascinating intersections between love, friendship, and the law. Like in most other areas of life there are a myriad of legal issues, rights, and responsibilities that affect couples, singles, and the celebration of love itself. As it turns out, whether we like it or not, we’re all a little obsessed with these topics—and the law is no exception. Whether it’s as a civil rights advocate, a free-speech enthusiast, or a public policy expert, there is something for everyone!

And remember, Valentines’ Day is more than what we see in rom-coms. It’s about friendship, community, and appreciation for the relationships we have with those around us—regardless of what those relationships look like!


The Regulation of Sex-Themed Visual Imagery: from Clay Tablets to Tablet Computers
Lyombe Eko conducts an historical and social survey of the regulation of visual depictions of explicit human sexual behavior from their earliest manifestations on clay tablets in the Tigris and Euphrates River Valleys of ancient Mesopotamia, to the tablets we carry around with us today. He analyzes contemporary problems in freedom of expression and its relation to explicit imagery. Additionally, he explores the regulation of representations of human sexuality.

Judgments of Love in Criminal Justice
This critical volume explores philosophies of love and compassion in the law, criminal procedure, and international criminal justice. The author, Farhad Malekian, develops a norm of love and explores its relationships with other themes such as morality, legality, and justice. Malekian advocates for the norm of love as a means to uphold principles of legal accountability, transparency, and the authentic values of humanity.

The War on Sex
There has been a war happening right under our noses for at least the last fifty years—a war on sex. Since the sexual revolution American society has seen an all but uninterrupted expansion of sexual rights and liberties or at least that’s what most people think. This book is the story of how the US government and civil society has been involved in a counterrevolution to stigmatize sex by means of law, surveillance, and social control. This book assembles essays from prominent scholars in their fields to shed light on these furtive government countermeasures from the criminalization of HIV, punitive measures against sex work, and sex offender registries.

Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century
Geoffery Stone begins his book by looking at the Founding Fathers and how they saw traditional Christianity as an impediment to enlightenment ideals and to the quest for human progress. He proceeds through American constitutional history, religious revitalizations, and the emergence of divisions over issues of sexual morality and freedom by looking at key court cases and decisions. He covers everything from contraceptives to marriage equality. He looks at how the courts took up these issues and radically changed both our understanding of the constitution and our everyday lives.

What Obergefell v. Hodges Should Have Said: the Nation’s Top Legal Experts Rewrite America’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision
Jack Balkin, constitutional law professor at Yale Law, and a selection of top legal scholars sitting as hypothetical supreme court justices rewrite the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision with 11 alternative opinions. Some concurring and some dissenting, this hypothetical 7-4 split allows readers well researched vantage points in which to critically engage with the complex legal decision-making that went into the original decision. In addition, the book highlights how the current opinion could be either strengthened or weakened in the future.

Even If You’re Broken: Essays on Sexual Assault and #MeToo
This powerful book by UNC Law professor Dr. Katie Pryal features personal essays of her own experiences paired with larger analysis on sexual assault, public opinion, and the systemic affordances of the institutions which allows assault to take place. It offers hope in the form of actionable steps universities, government institutions, and the wider public can take to prevent sexual assault, highlights where institutions failed, and bluntly details the injustices survivors face and how we can fight it. It invites conversations that are hard to have about issues that may be even harder to confront yet inspires us to seek justice and expect change from our institutions.

Love Wins: the Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality
This captivating and moving book tells the story of the lovers, lawyers, judges and activists behind the groundbreaking Supreme Court case that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage. This narrative account whose co-author, Jim Obergefell, was the plaintiff in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges shares a story of love, grief, and a bittersweet victory. It reveals the underlying complexities in the case that allowed it the opportunity to reach the Supreme Court where others had not along with insightful exposes into the characters that made it happen.

Agape, Justice, and Law: How Might Christian Love Shape Law?
This provocative assemblage of essays edited by philosopher Jeffrie Murphy begins by asking “what would law be like if we organized it around the value of Christian love, and if we thought about and criticized law in terms of that value?” This book gathers scholars from various disciplines to explore this question and the intersections of agape, scriptural law, theology, and jurisprudence—which are already more deeply intertwined than one might think. Murphy and many of this essayist feel that despite contemporary criticism about Christianity’s influence on the law inviting Christian ideals of love and justice into law may yield better results and new insights in its analysis.

Public Practice, Private Law: an Essay on Love, Marriage, and the State
Gary Chartier explores marriage, the dynamics of love, and the influence the law exerts into the private aspects of our lives. Chartier details a robust understanding of marriage and the laws surrounding it as well as what people might see as valuable about their own relationships. He advocates for the state to cease sponsoring marriage as a legal institution, proposes how delinking might be accomplished as well as what benefits it could bring.

Adultery: Infidelity and the Law
Deborah Rhode offers a comprehensive account of the legal and social consequences of infidelity at a moment in American society where the consequences for such are seemingly vanishing. Rhodes explores everything from why adultery happens to the harm done when it is criminalized. She looks at the possible consequences such as job termination, loss of child custody, and civil lawsuits as well as examining media and public reactions to high profile cases of infidelity.

Nino and Me: My Unusual Friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia
Scholar and legal lexicographer Bryan Garner writes an intimate memoir of his friendship with the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Despite their differing viewpoints and perspectives, a personal relationship flourished between them through a shared love of the English language—its usage and persuasive powers. Garner gives firsthand insights into the life of one of the most famous Supreme Court Justices of recent history.

The Fight for Privacy: Protecting Dignity, Identity, and Love in the Digital Age
Privacy is disappearing—or so acclaimed civil rights advocate, MacArthur fellow, and distinguished professor of law Danielle Citron claims. With our devices recording and mediating so much of our day-to-day activities many aspects of our lives that were once intimately private are being captured and analyzed through data collection practices. Our health, gender, and relationships are now on full display to those who may not have our best interests in mind. Our relationships with friends, family, lovers, and kids; and even our relationship with ourselves are on full display for those companies who wish to know. In this book Citron shows how big data enters our bedrooms and our bathrooms and our midnight texts. Then, she shows us what to do about it!

You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder Place
“You look like a thing and I love you” is one of the best pickup lines ever, at least according to the author and artificial intelligence scientist Janelle Shane. She engineers silly AIs that learn how to do all sorts of things, even flirt—badly—with people. She does this to better understand the technology that governs so much of our daily lives and which we rely on everyday. She says AI reflects both the best and worst of humanity and we might have a lot to learn from them because of it. As we continue to fall in and out of love with AI Shane offers us an awareness into how AI works and insights into how to better co-habitate with the technology moving forward.