The American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy was begun in 1955 by Carl Friedrich to bring together a group of political scientists, philosophers and law scholars interested in exploring legal and political philosophy outside of their home disciplines. The main activity of the society is its annual meeting held on a topic chosen in advance by the ASPLP membership, at which three papers—one from each of the participating disciplines—are presented. The society publishes these papers, along with formal commentary and invited additional essays, in NOMOS, its annual yearbook. The ASPLP leadership has included some of the most distinguished and accomplished scholars in political and legal philosophy including John Rawls, Lon Fuller and Judith Shklar.
The ASPLP has benefited greatly from the generous support of Boston University School of Law, Brown University's Political Theory Project, Duke University School of Law, New York University's College of Arts & Science-Social Sciences, Princeton University's Center for Human Values, and Stanford University's School of Humanities and Sciences.