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About the Book

Constitutional Rights: Cases in Context, 2E

Second Edition

Randy E. BarnettGeorgetown University 
Josh Blackman, South Texas College of Law Houston

2017.  Approx. 1020 pages.  ISBN: 978-1-4548-9290-8.

With Teacher’s Manual.

About the Book

Constitutional Rights: Cases in Context places primary emphasis on how constitutional law has developed since the Founding, its key foundational principles, and recurring debates, rather than focusing acontextually on doctrinal details. By providing both cases and context, it nonjudgmentally conveys the competing narratives that all lawyers ought to know and all constitutional practitioners need to know. It presents the highly engaging story that is American constitutional law.


       Teachable, manageable, class-sized chunks of material that cover Parts I and III of the parent book, Constitutional Law: Cases in Context, can be taught in its entirety in one-semester courses. Generous case excerpts make the text flexible for most courses, no matter the ideology or interpretative method. Cases are judiciously supplemented with background readings from various sources. Providing additional context, the readings are long enough to help students understand the arguments, and edited where necessary to prevent overwhelming them.


       Constitutional Rights: Cases in Context presents rival interpretations of the Constitution by founders, Presidents, and other critics of the Court’s decisions better than other casebooks do. Innovative study guide questions presented before each case help students focus on the salient issues, challenge them to consider the court’s opinions from various perspectives, suggest comparisons or connections with other cases, and invite the student to think about recurring foundational principles and debates. The text is accompanied by an in-depth Teacher’s Manual and an annual case supplement.

New to the 2nd Edition: A Flipped Approach to the Casebook to empower both professors and students.

       For the second edition of our casebook, Constitutional Rights: Cases in Context, several doctrinal areas are revised with newer cases, and some of the background contextual material has been updated to reflect current scholarship. At the same time, great effort has been expended to keep the casebook assignments a manageable length.


       In addition, to accompany the updated casebook, we plan to produce a series of short, focused, two-minute videos about each case in the book. The videos will feature one of the authors, speaking directly to the camera, discussing the facts, posture, analysis, and holding of the case. To make the media richer, we will include photographs, maps, and primary-source documents about the case. The concise videos can be watched on laptops, tablets, or phones, so they can be streamed on-demand before class, even during the commute to school.

       Professors who adopt our casebook can assign these supplemental videos so students are better prepared to engage in classroom discussions. Law students today learn differently than law students a generation ago. Weaned on smartphones and streaming video, millennials have become accustomed to engaging with information on demand. In other disciplines, educators have recognized this pedagogical shift, and embraced it through the so-called “flipped classroom.” Ours will be a “flipped” approach to a casebook, which will empower classroom professors by enabling them to teach to a far better prepared classroom of students. Between the casebook’s innovative text and our videos, students can better prepare themselves online before class, allowing the professor in class to dive deeper into analysis and reasoning of the content that the professor thinks is most important.