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Since the first publication of Modern Constitutional Law forty years ago, it has continued to be one of the best sellers in a very competitive market. Over the years, many law professors have adopted this user-friendly casebook - which is no surprise, given the rave reviews the book has enjoyed. For example, Professor Thomas E. Baker stated that he has "been so loyal to the Rotunda brand name over the years," because it "remarkabl[y]" manages "to include all the important cases yet preserves a fuller set of opinions to guarantee 'thoughtful classroom discussion’.” This Twelfth Edition incorporates many changes in Constitutional law, including limiting federal courts’ power to review partisan state gerrymanders, limits on government-compelled speech, refusing to give the President immunity from subpoenas by prosecutors and Congress for the President’s private papers, freeing churches from burdens on free exercise of religion, striking down abortion restrictions, and refining powers under the commerce clause.

Imprint: West Academic Publishing
Series: American Casebook Series
Publication Date: 11/24/2020

Ronald D. Rotunda

Bennett L. Gershman, Pace University School of Law


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First, the book is shorter than the prior edition. Second, and more significantly, this revision incorporates important changes in Constitutional Law. For example, the Supreme Court:

  • Held that state partisan gerrymanders are non-justiciable political questions
  • Upheld President Trump’s ban on Muslims to protect national security
  • Upheld right of same-sex couples to marry
  • Struck down abortion laws that targeted abortion doctor the employees objected to
  • Allowed states to impose sales taxes on out of state companies that have no physical presence in taxing state
  • Held that public employees could not be required to pay dues to unions which espoused positions
  • Held that states could punish electors in the Electoral College who violated their pledge to support candidate who won most state votes
  • Interpreted the word “sex” in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s banning employment discrimination to include discrimination against homosexual and transgender employees
  • Broadened anti-commandeering principle to strike down Congress’s direction to states to repeal laws against sports gambling under Professional and Amateur Sports Act
  • Upheld the power of a local District Attorney to subpoena President’s Trump’s private papers and upheld Congress’s subpoena under a more rigorous standard

Learn more about this series.