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About the Book

Constitutional Law and American Democracy: Cases and Readings

Front Cover - Constitutional Law and American Democracy: Cases and Readings

Corey Brettschneider
Brown University

2011. 1,364 pages. ISBN: 978-0-7355-7982-8. With Instructor's Manual.

About the Book


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A new approach to constitutional law that ties cases to the most salient and controversial debates in our polity today, Constitutional Law and American Democracy presents a wide selection of carefully selected readings and cases that create a compelling, nuanced view of current key political and constitutional issues and interpretive approaches and problems through engaging topics of especially high interest to students.


  • Extensive excerpts from a highly focused set of cases and other readings provide depth of understanding and a compelling, nuanced sense of the Constitution and of the political and interpretive disputes, including the basis and nature of judicial authority, that have shaped its meaning.
  • Thematic organization develops students’ understanding of and engagement with structural and normative features of the Constitution and constitutional law by linking relevant portions of the Constitution to contemporary issues and controversies while providing key historical elements to deepen and contextualize that understanding. 
  • Chapter structure offers, first, the author’s probing overviews of the topics, constitutional arguments, and chapter readings and, second, a broad range of theoretical and historical writings, which taken together contextualize the cases and readings that follow.
  • A wide scope and perspective comprises both basic topics of constitutional law and provocative topics of current interest —for example, gender, sexual orientation, and racial equality — not normally included in constitutional law texts but that, through their associated ongoing controversies and relevance, engage student interest and stimulate discussion.
  • A multidimensional, comprehensive picture, drawing on a wide array of resources, including case excerpts, concurring and dissenting opinions, law journal and other articles, general publications, published letters, and other documents.
  • Probing case comprehension, discussion, and synthesis questions punctuate and reinforce content.
  • As is usual for the Constitutional Law market, splits of the comprehensive text, with added materials, will be offered, to be available at a later date:  Rights and Liberties and Governmental Powers and Institutions.
  • An Instructor’s Manual provides guidance on how to use the synthesis and case questions in the book to structure class discussion and lectures.
  • A Test Bank and PowerPoint slides provide additional materials for instructors, covering key issues in all text chapters.