About the Book
Constitutional Law: Cases in Context
Randy E. Barnett
Georgetown University Law Center
2008. 1,408 pages. ISBN: 0-7355-6344-6. With Teacher’s Manual.
About the Book
This innovative casebook breaks course content up into teachable “class-sized” chunks and replaces the typical dense note material found in other casebooks with more of the classic cases presented at greater length with background readings from varied sources. Emphasizing the evolution of constitutional law from the Founding to today, Constitutional Law: Cases in Context, employs a transparent and straightforward organization that is not only easy for students to grasp, but easy for professors to tailor and rearrange to suit various teaching preferences.
This unique casebook is designed to be user-friendly for teacher and student alike:
- Primary emphasis is placed on the of how constitutional law has developed rather than on doctrinal details, providing an accessible and engaging way to consider first principles and method, especially for those students without a basic familiarity with constitutional history.
- To convey the context in which they were decided, the landmark “classic cases” that provide the basic vocabulary of constitutional law are presented chronologically, rather than doctrine-by-doctrine. This encourages students on their own to discern and begin to internalize the significance of each key court decision.
- Presenting an overall constitutional narrative is more efficient and less confusing than separately tracing the history of each doctrine, while allowing ample time is to cover contemporary issues.
- Both classic and modern cases are generously edited to allow the Justices themselves, rather than the casebook editor, to debate the development of constitutional law in their own words.
- Cases, especially the early ones, are judiciously supplemented with other materials to provide further context that draws students into the subject. Rival interpretations of the Constitution by founders, Presidents, and other critics of the Court’s decisions are better represented here than in many other casebooks.
- Study Guide Questions before each case help students focus attention on salient issues.
At approximately 1400 pages, with textual introductions that are brief and factual and with fewer dense note materials, this casebook is more transparent for professor and student alike.
Complementing the casebook:
- An annual supplement for the casebook, Recent Developments in Constitutional Law, will replace cases that occur later in the materials leaving the early parts of the course more stable from year to year and from future edition to edition.
- An in-depth Teacher’s Manual, explaining how to use the book in various common course configurations.
This novel but remarkably comfortable casebook offers an accessible and engaging way to teach and learn constitutional law. If you are looking for a shorter constitutional law casebook with fewer dense notes, be sure to examine Constitutional Law: Cases in Context before you teach your next course.
Preface / Sample Chapters