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This casebook continues to focus upon Supreme Court opinions and other primary documents, offering deep and wide coverage of almost all major areas of constitutional doctrine in a way very few other casebooks do. For decades, the distinctive pedagogical approach reflected in the book – its commitment to providing as much of the raw decisional, statutory and historical background material as is practical – has allowed teachers to structure constitutional law courses as they see fit, and has encouraged students to formulate their own generalizations directly from the materials. The book covers all major traditional constitutional topics, including the role of the federal judiciary, separation of powers, federalism, the non-criminal provisions of the Bill of Rights, and the Reconstruction Amendments.

Imprint: Foundation Press
Series: University Casebook Series
Publication Date: 06/09/2017

Jonathan D. Varat, University of California-L.A. School of Law

Vikram D. Amar, University of Illinois College of Law


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Supreme Court opinions during the last four years have produced many significant doctrinal developments—across the constitutional range—which find expression in this, the 15th Edition. We have incorporated substantial treatment of major separation of powers rulings (especially Zivotofsky v. Kerry and National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning), federalism questions concerning the use of state-level direct democracy regulation of federal elections (Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission), and cases concerning congressional power over the States pursuant to the Reconstruction Amendments (Shelby County v. Holder). Perhaps the most significant case in a generation concerning constitutional equality and dignity rights – Obergefell v. Hodges – is featured prominently. Important but more fact-intensive rulings in abortion rights (Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt) and affirmative action (Fisher v. University of Texas) are covered in depth as well. As for the First Amendment, ambitious and controversial cases concerning public fora (McCullen v. Coakley), speech on private property (Reed v. Town of Gilbert) and government speech (Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans), are included, as are further doctrinal refinements in speech rights of union members (Harris v. Quinn) public employees (Lane v. Franks and Heffernan v. Patterson), and those involved in electoral processes (McCutcheon v. FEC and Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar). Finally, the book contains developments in religious liberty and equality, including the important if incremental Establishment Clause ruling in Town of Greece v. Galloway.

To make room for these and other new developments, the authors necessarily consolidated, condensed and trimmed other, less vital, sections in the book so that, even with all the new materials, the 15th Edition is not appreciably longer than the 14th.

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