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Constitutional Law for a Changing America

Constitutional Law for a Changing America
A Short Course

Ninth Edition

November 2023 | 792 pages | CQ Press
"Excellent balance of case excerpts and author explanation, highly appropriate for undergraduate students."
—Dr. Wendy Brame, Briar Cliff University

Political factors influence judicial decisions. Arguments and input from lawyers and interest groups, the ebb and flow of public opinion, and especially the ideological and behavioral inclinations of the justices all combine to shape the development of constitutional doctrine. Drawing from political science as much as from legal studies, Constitutional Law for a Changing America: A Short Course helps students realize that Supreme Court cases are more than just legal names and citations. With meticulous revising, the authors streamline material while accounting for recent landmark cases and new scholarship.

Ideal for a one semester course, the Ninth Edition of A Short Course offers all the hallmarks of the Rights and Powers volumes (also included in the Constitutional Law for a Changing America series) in a more condensed format.

Included with this title:

LMS Cartridge:
Import this title’s instructor resources into your school’s learning management system (LMS) and save time. Don’t use an LMS? You can still access all of the same online resources for this title via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site. Learn more.

Part I The U.S. Constitution
Chapter 1 The Living Constitution
Chapter 2 Understanding the U.S. Supreme Court
Part II Institutional Authority
Chapter 3 The Judiciary
Chapter 4 The Legislature
Chapter 5 The Executive
Part III Nation-State Relations
Chapter 6 Federalism
Chapter 7 The Commerce Power
Chapter 8 The Power to Tax and Spend
Part IV Economic Liberties
Chapter 9 The Contract Clause
Chapter 10 Economic Substantive Due Process
Chapter 11 The Takings Clause
Part V Civil Liberties
Chapter 12 Religion
Chapter 13 Foundations of Freedom of Expression
Chapter 14 Modern-Day Approaches to Free Expression
Chapter 15 Freedom of the Press
Chapter 16 The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Chapter 17 The Right to Privacy
Part VI The Rights of the Criminally Accused
Chapter 18 Investigations and Evidence
Chapter 19 Attorneys, Trials, and Punishments
Part VII Civil Rights
Chapter 20 Discrimination
Chapter 21 Voting and Representation
Reference Material


Instructor Companion Site
Online resources included with this text
The online resources for your text are available via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site, which offers access to all text-specific resources, including a test bank and editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides.

Case Archive

The authors have excerpted each case in the same format as those in the text, featuring the justices’ votes, a summary of case facts, and a carefully edited version of the justices' opinions.

For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative.

"Excellent balance of case excerpts and author explanation, highly appropriate for undergraduate students."

Dr. Wendy Brame
Briar Cliff University

"This textbook achieves the difficult task of being both accessible and thorough."

Eric Schwartz
Hagerstown Community College
Key features
  • The new edition has been updated to include key opinions handed down through the 2022 term, including the significant changes in abortion, affirmative action, religious activity in public schools, and partisan gerrymandering.
  • Two chapters now cover freedom of speech: In order to highlight some of the foundational issues and contrast them with contemporary disputes over expression, coverage of speech has separated into two chapters — Chapter 13 offers an overview of the enduring topics of free expression, and Chapter 14 reorganizes cases around modern legal questions about speech.
  • Each chapter has been thoroughly updated to include important opinions handed down during the Roberts Court era. Since Chief Justice John Roberts took office in 2005, the Court has taken up many pressing issues of the day, including, health care, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, voting rights, and more.
  • Refreshed Aftermath boxes provide students with updates of historically crucial cases. In addition to providing human interest material, they lead to interesting discussions about the Court’s impact on the lives of ordinary Americans—demonstrating to students that Supreme Court cases are more than merely legal names and citations; they involve real people involved in real disputes.
  • Carefully condensed from the Rights and Powers volumes, A Short Course fits the needs of those who teach institutional powers, civil liberties, rights, and justice in a single academic term and those who prefer a shorter core text.
  • The authors approach constitutional law from a social science perspective, demonstrating how many forces—not just legal factors—influence the development of the law.
  • Throughout A Short Course, the authors highlight how relevant political, historical, economic, and social events; personnel changes on the Court; interest groups; and even public opinion may have affected the justices’ decisions, in addition to traditional legal considerations, such as precedent, text, and history.
  • Inclusion of the latest scholarship in the fields of both political science and legal studies helps this book to remain the best political science Constitutional Law textbook on the market.
  • The authors are known for fastidious revising and streamlining of decisions. A recipient of 12 grants from the National Science Foundation for her work on law and legal institutions, Epstein has authored or co-authored over 100 articles and essays, as well as 15 books, and received the Teaching and Mentoring Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. Additionally, Thomas G. Walker is the Goodrich C. White Professor of Political Science at Emory University and co-author of A Court Divided, which won the V. O. Key, Jr. Award for the best book on southern politics.