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Constitutional Law for a Changing America

Constitutional Law for a Changing America
A Short Course

Seventh Edition
Experience with SAGE edge

October 2017 | 840 pages | CQ Press

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 on political science as much as from legal studies, Constitutional Law for a Changing America helps students realize that Supreme Court cases are more than just legal names and citations. With meticulous revising, authors Lee Epstein and Thomas G. Walker streamline material while accounting for recent landmark cases and new scholarship.

Ideal for a one-semester course, the Seventh Edition of Short Course offers all of the hallmarks of the Rights and Powers volumes in a more condensed format. Students and instructors benefit from the Constitutional Law for a Changing America Resource Center, which features more than 500 excerpted supplemental cases, links to CQ Press reference materials, and a moot court simulation. Learn more at

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Constitutional Law for a Changing America
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Use bundle ISBN: 978-1-5443-0895-1

Part I: The U.S. Constitution
An Introduction to the U.S. Constitution  
Chapter 1: The Living Constitution
The Amendment Process  
The Supreme Court and the Living Constitution  
Chapter 2: Understanding the Supreme Court
Processing Supreme Court Cases  
Supreme Court Decision Making: Legalism  
Supreme Court Decision Making: Realism  
Conducting Research on the Supreme Court  
Part II: Institutional Authority
Structuring the Federal System  
Chapter 3: The Judiciary
Establishment of the Federal Judiciary  
Judicial Review  
Constraints on Judicial Piwer and the Separation of Powers System  
Chapter 4: The Legislature
Article I: Historical Overview  
Members of Congress: Qualifications, Immunity, and Discipline  
The Sources and Scope of Legislative Powers  
Congress and the Separation of Powers  
Chapter 5: The Executive
Selection and Formal Powers  
The Domestic Powers of the President  
The President and Foreign Affairs  
Part III: Nation-State Relations
Allocating Government Power  
Chapter 6: Federalism
Federal Power, State Sovereignty and the Tenth Amendment  
The Taney Court and the (Re)Emergence of States’ Rights  
The Post Civil War Era and the Return of Dual Federalism  
The (Re)Emergence of National Supremacy: Cooperative Federalism  
Return of (a Milder Form of) Dual Federalism  
The Eleventh Amendment  
Chapter 7: The Commerce Power
Foundations of the Commerce Power  
Attempts to Define the Commerce Power in the Wake of the Industrial Revolution  
The Supreme Court and the New Deal  
The Era of Expansive Commerce Clause Jurisprudence  
Limits on the Commerce Power: The Republican Court Era  
Chapter 8: The Power to Tax and Spend
The Constitutional Power to Tax and Spend  
Direct Taxes and the Power to Tax Income  
Intergovernmental Tax Immunity  
Taxation as a Regulatory Power  
Taxing and Spending for the General Welfare  
Part IV: Economic Liberties
Economic Liberties and Individual Rights  
Chapter 9: The Contract Clause
The Framers and the Contract Clause  
John Marshall and the Contract Clause  
The Decline of the Contract Clause  
Modern Applications of the Contract Clause  
Chapter 10: Economic Substantive Due Process
The Development of Substantive Due Process  
The Roller-Coaster Ride of Substantive Due Process: 1898–1923  
The Heyday of Substantive Due Process: 1923–1936  
The Depression, the New Deal, and the Decline of Economic Substantive Due Process  
Chapter 11: The Takings Clause
Protecting Private Property from Government Seizure  
What Constitutes a Taking?  
Public Use Requirement  
Part V: Civil Liberties
Approaching Civil Liberties  
Chapter 12: Religion: Exercise and Establishment
Free Exercise of Religion  
Religious Establishment  
Chapter 13: Freedom of Speech, Assembly, and Association
The Development of Legal Standards: The Emergence of Law in Times of Crisis  
Contemporary Tests and Constitutional Guidelines  
Content and Contexts  
Chapter 14: Freedom of the Press
Prior Restraint  
News Gathering and Special Rights  
The Boundaries of Free Press: Libel, Obscenity, and Emerging Areas of Government Concern  
Regulating the Internet  
Chapter 15: The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Initial Interpretations  
The Second Amendment Revisited  
Heller and the States  
Chapter 16: The Right to Privacy
The Right to Privacy: Foundations  
Reproductive Freedom and the Right to Privacy: Abortion  
Private Activities and the Application of Griswold  
Part VI: The Rights of the Criminally Accused
The Criminal Justice System and Constitutional Rights  
Chapter 17: Investigations and Evidence
Searches and Seizures  
The Fifth Amendment and Self-Incrimination  
Chapter 18: Attorneys, Trials, and Punishments
The Right to Counsel  
Fair Trials  
Trial Proceedings  
Sentencing and the Eighth Amendment  
Posttrial Stages  
Part VII: Civil Rights
Civil Rights and the Constitution  
Chapter 19: Discrimination
Race Discrimination and the Foundations of Equal Protection  
Modern-Day Treatment of Equal Protection Claims  
Strict Scrutiny and Claims of Race Discrimination  
Heightened Scrutiny and Claims of Gender Discrimination  
Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation  
Discrimination Based on Economic Status  
Chapter 20: Voting and Representation
Voting Rights  
Contemporary Restrictions on the Right to Vote  
Election Campaign Regulation  
Political Representation  
The 2000 Presidential Election  


Instructor Site

Instructor Resources save time and ease class prep. Register for the password-protected site and download the resources you need.

Microsoft® Word and ExamView test bank offers a diverse set of test questions and answers for each chapter of the book. Multiple-choice, true/false, short-answer, and essay questions for every chapter help instructors assess students' progress and understanding.

Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content, features, and artwork from the book.

Instructor's Manual features case briefs, notes and questions for lecture and discussion.

Graphics from the book present every table, figure, and box in PowerPoint, PDF, and JPG.

Student Study Site

This password-protected website, free with purchase of a new print text, include:

  • case study archive with additional online-only cases, along with cases from previous editions
  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes that allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material

"Constitutional Law for a Changing America: A Short Course continues to be one of the best and most balanced books on the market. Epstein and Walker do a very good job of editing the opinions for clarity and using political science scholarship to present the clearest picture of the study of public law of any book geared towards an undergraduate audience."

Naser L. Javaid
Roosevelt University
Key features


  • Each chapter has been thoroughly updated to reflect the latest court decisions, providing students with new cases, new summaries/narrative, and the most up-to-date data and references 
  • An expanded discussion of Article I of the Constitution in Chapter 4 gives students a better understanding of the historical background of Congress as well as its powers and limits.
  • A revised discussion of veto power, appointment, and foreign policy in Chapter 5 offers students new insights into executive powers.
  • Substantial revisions to Chapter 6, including a new case on the post-Civil War era, bring key concepts of Federalism to life.
  • Expanded analysis of what constitutes a “taking” in the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment clearly illustrates for students the rights citizens have to private property.
  • Discussions of historical and contemporary guidelines for freedom of expression in Chapter 13 show students the evolution of the right to express oneself throughout history.
  • Expanded sections on the legal future of abortion and same-sex marriage in Chapter 16 explain to students the powers and limitations of current laws and how society has adapted. 
  • A revised discussion of contemporary equal protection claims and strict scrutiny in Chapter 19 offer students a variety of examples of discrimination in the modern day.
  • New case summaries and excerpts, including Fisher v. University of Texas, Obergefell v. Hodges, Town of Greece v. Galloway, Missouri v. Seibert, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, Loving v. Virginia, and Coyle v. Smith, illustrate for students recent monumental cases that have changed today’s United States legal system.
  • New aftermath boxes provide students with updates of historically crucial cases, including John Lawrence and Tyron Gardner, and Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter.


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.


The Constitutional Law for a Changing America Resource Center features more than 500 excerpted supplemental cases, links to CQ Press reference materials, and a moot court simulation.

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

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ISBN: 9781506348735