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Constitutional Law for a Changing America

Constitutional Law for a Changing America
Rights, Liberties, and Justice

Tenth Edition

August 2018 | 792 pages | CQ Press
Capturing the authors’ excitement for constitutional law, this updated Tenth Edition of Constitutional Law for a Changing America shows students how judicial decisions are influenced by political factors—from lawyers and interest groups, to the shifting sentiments of public opinion, to the ideological and behavioral inclinations of the justices. Authors Lee Epstein and Thomas G. Walker show how these dynamics shape the development of constitutional doctrine. Known for fastidious revising and streamlining, the authors incorporate the latest scholarship in the fields of both political science and legal studies and offer solid analysis of both classic and contemporary landmark cases, including key opinions handed down through the 2017 session. Filled with additional supporting material—photographs of the litigants, sidebars comparing the United States with other nations, and “Aftermath” boxes that tell the stories of the parties' lives after the Supreme Court has acted—the text helps students develop a thorough understanding of the way the U.S. Constitution protects civil rights and liberties.
Bundle with the Resource Center for FREE! 
Take your constitutional law class beyond the book with Epstein and Walker’s newly redesigned Resource Center, featuring more than 500 excerpted, supplemental cases referenced in the commentary of the Constitutional Law for a Changing America volumes. The Resource Center offers a place for students to study core content with online quizzes and explore court cases. Instructors can find teaching materials, including hypothetical cases paired with discussion questions and writing assignments, moot-court simulations, test banks, and more.

Ensure FREE access—use bundle ISBN: 978-1-5443-5051-6.

Chronological Table of Cases
Tables, Figures, and Boxes
The Living Constitution

The Road to the Bill of Rights

The Amendment Process

The Supreme Court and the Amendment Process

CHAPTER 1. Understanding the U.S. Supreme Court
Processing Supreme Court Cases

Supreme Court Decision Making: Legalism

Supreme Court Decision Making: Realism

Conducting Research on the Supreme Court

Annotated Readings

CHAPTER 2. The Judiciary: Institutional Powers and Constraints
Judicial Review

Constraints on Judicial Power

Annotated Readings

CHAPTER 3. Incorporation of the Bill of Rights
Must States Abide by the Bill of Rights? Initial Responses

Incorporation through the Fourteenth Amendment: Early Interpretations

Tests Emerge

Incorporation in the Aftermath of Palko

Annotated Readings

Approaching Civil Liberties

CHAPTER 4. Religion: Exercise and Establishment
Defining Religion

Free Exercise of Religion

Religious Establishment

Annotated Readings

CHAPTER 5. Freedom of Speech, Assembly, and Association
The Development of Legal Standards

Contemporary Tests and Constitutional Guidelines

Content and Contexts

Annotated Readings

CHAPTER 6. Freedom of the Press
Prior Restraint

Government Control of Press Content

News Gathering and Special Rights

Annotated Readings

CHAPTER 7. The Boundaries of Free Expression: Libel, Obscenity, and Emerging Areas of Government Regulation


Cruelty and Violence

Annotated Readings

CHAPTER 8. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Initial Interpretations

The Second Amendment Revisited

Heller and the States

Annotated Readings

CHAPTER 9. Privacy and Personal Liberty
The Right to Privacy: Foundations

Reproductive Freedom and the Right to Privacy: Abortion

Personal Liberty and Privacy beyond Reproductive Freedom

Annotated Readings

The Criminal Justice System and Constitutional Rights

Overview of the Criminal Justice System

Trends in Court Decision Making

CHAPTER 10. Investigations and Evidence
Searches and Seizures

Enforcing the Fourth Amendment: The Exclusionary Rule

The Fifth Amendment and Self-Incrimination

Annotated Readings

CHAPTER 11. Attorneys, Trials, and Punishments
The Right to Counsel

The Pretrial Period and the Right to Bail

The Sixth Amendment and Fair Trials

Trial Proceedings

Final Trial Stage: An Overview of Sentencing

The Eighth Amendment

Posttrial Protections and the Double Jeopardy Clause

Postrelease Protections

Annotated Readings

Civil Rights and the Constitution

The Fourteenth Amendment

The Fifteenth Amendment

CHAPTER 12. Race Discrimination and the Foundations of Equal Protection
Initial Approaches to the Fourteenth Amendment

State Action Requirement

Annotated Readings

CHAPTER 13. Contemporary Approaches to Equal Protection
Rational Basis Scrutiny

Strict Scrutiny and Claims of Race Discrimination

Heightened Scrutiny and Claims of Gender Discrimination

Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

Discrimination Based on Economic Status

Discrimination against Aliens

The Future of Discrimination Law

Annotated Readings

CHAPTER 14. Voting and Representation
Elections and the Supreme Court

Voting Rights

Regulation of Election Campaigns

Political Representation

Annotated Readings

Reference Material
Appendix 1. Constitution of the United States
Appendix 2. The Justices
Appendix 3. Glossary
Appendix 4. Online Case Archive Index
Case Index
Subject Index

“This text is the best in its class. There are many outstanding Con Law texts, but this one will always be my first choice. The choice and breadth of the topics covered are exceptional.”

Chris Baxter
University of Tennessee at Martin

“An in-depth, intuitive, thought-provoking text on constitutional law. . . .  This text is a favorite among the students and myself.” 

Elizabeth Tillman
University at Buffalo, SUNY

“By far the best textbook out there for constitutional law. . . .  I teach my courses from the perspective of both law and politics, and this text allows me to emphasize both.” 

Jared Perkins
California State University, Long Beach

“The text makes the complex and delicate topics of rights and liberties relevant and comprehensible to the undergraduate.”

Hans Hacker
Arkansas State University

An outstanding masterpiece of cases, backgrounds, and resources for students in dual credit, AP, OR intro American Government

Professor Stephen Sowell
Political Science, Collin Co Cmty Clg-Preston Rid
June 10, 2018
Key features


  • A newly redesigned online Resource Center features more than 500 excerpted, supplemental cases referenced in the commentary of the Constitutional Law for a Changing America volumes. The Resource Center offers a place for students to study core content with online quizzes and explore biographies, reference material, and data. Instructors can find teaching materials, including hypothetical cases paired with discussion questions and writing assignments, moot-court simulations, and test banks, and more.
  • Each chapter is thoroughly updated for currency and scholarship and reflects the most recent court rulings.
  • Two chapters now cover discrimination: “Race Discrimination and the Foundations of Equal Protection” (Chapter 12), which explores the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection and its historical relation to race discrimination, and “Contemporary Approaches to Equal Protection” (Chapter 13), which analyzes claims under the equal protection clause based on race, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, and alienage.
  • A range of “Aftermath” boxes for selected cases provide final chapters to these stories, stimulating interesting discussions about the decisions’ impacts on the lives of ordinary Americans.
  • Constitutional questions pertaining to the Internet are more fully integrated into relevant chapters.
  • Coverage of freedom of expression gives greater attention to recent disputes.
  • The right to privacy and related questions of human dignity are more thoroughly explored.



  • "Facts” and "Arguments" sections before every case help students understand key rulings.
  • "Global Perspective” boxes showcase laws and legal practices of other countries, enabling students to compare and contrast U.S. Supreme Court decisions on a wide range of issues, such as the death penalty and libel, with policies developed in other countries.
  • Tables and figures on Court trends bring out the rich legal, social, historical, economic, and political contexts in which the Court reaches its decisions. 

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