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About the Book

Constitutional Law: Cases and Materials

Front Cover - Constitutional Law: Cases and Materials

Martin L. Levy
Thurgood Marshall School of Law
Texas Southern University

Craig L. Jackson
Thurgood Marshall School of Law

About the Book

Constitutional Law: Cases and Materials is structured for a three-to-five hour introductory course in Constitutional Law. Coverage includes a review of the power of the three coordinate branches of the federal government with­—as befitting a law school—particular emphasis on the Federal and Supreme Courts. Also, as befitting our law school’s namesake, Thurgood Marshall, emphasis in regard to Individual Rights includes Application of the Bill of Rights and the fundamental rights to Due Process, both substantive and procedural, as well as Equal Protection. First Amendment issues are not included: given their importance, it is assumed that they will be covered in separate course offerings, as is now most often the case.

A word in regard into coverage in this volume that is unique and/or meaningful in regard to our approach to the subject matter, is also fitting.  We feel there are significant and meaningful differences in this work. Structuring Article III jurisdictional requirements as they are affected by a given subject matter in relation to how the judicial power should be applied in a democratic society has been a traditional challenge in Constitutional Law Casebooks.

To facilitate understanding we commence the course so as to confront the interplay between these issues.  Thus, this work begins with a “mini course” in Supreme Court decision making.  Here, we unabashedly use the controversy generated by the “privacy and abortion cases” to show how actual case law is effected by the “weak origins” of judicial  review  and  the  conflict  in  the  need  to  limit  governmental  power (the Constitution as fundamental law) by a non-elected Court in a democratic society.

Our purpose is to allow the student to understand how the substantive contemporary controversies in the subject matter affect how the Court applies the judicial power.  We feel this is an excellent means to prepare the student to understand how the use of the case and controversy requirements in Article III are applied to restrain the judicial power and bow to the democratic process,  as exemplified by the “historic” privacy cases.  We also feel that allowing the students exposure to some of the classic articles dealing with these issues will also benefit their understanding of the subject matter.

Our experience in commencing with a “mini course” in constitutional decision making, as a pre-requisite to covering substantive case law, has been quite positive.

We feel this work is also distinguishable and attractive where a desire to emphasize civil rights and the Fourteenth Amendment is present.  Here, as one might expect from Faculty of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, there is more extensive coverage of slavery, segregation, and civil rights, with a very “realist view” of the role the Supreme Court has played from slavery to present.  Thus, we emphasize Fourteenth Amendment Rights and their enforcement.

Faculty who share our interests and concerns we feel will well benefit from selection of the work, and we welcome any questions in this regard.

Martin Levy
Craig Jackson