Constitutional Law Book

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newprof30
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Constitutional Law Book

Post by newprof30 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:56 pm

Would any lawyers, law students, or law professors out there mind recommending a intro to constitutional law? I'm not looking to go into law, since I just finished a 7 year Ph.D. and already have a job I love, but would like an academic, not popular, intro to the subject. Thanks.

Random Poster
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Post by Random Poster » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:30 pm

Do you want a case book or a horn book?

ETA: If you want a case book, the one by Sullivan and Gunther is, I suspect, the most widely used in law schools.

On Amazon, it lists for $107.

http://www.amazon.com/Constitutional-Un ... 1587787768

If you want a horn book, I'm not terribly familiar with what is out there, but Chemerinsky seems to get some good press.
Last edited by Random Poster on Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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newprof30
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Post by newprof30 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:38 pm

More of a primer, which I guess is what a horn book is. I'd be open to a good case book but I doubt I'd have a chance to read it for a while.

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Post by chaz » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:30 pm

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Post by retiredjg » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:09 pm

How about In Our Defense. Caroline Kennedy is one of the authors. It is not so much about the Constitution, but the Bill of Rights (which, of course, is a huge part of the Constitution). I thought it was excellent.

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Post by shuchong » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:16 pm

I'll second Chemerinsky. Haven't read it, but quite a few of my classmates used it as a Constitutional Law hornbook last semester, and they seem to know a fair amount about the Constitution. :) Also, if you're looking for a cheap way to go about things, most Supreme Court cases are online at Findlaw and other sites. They're surprisingly readable. Combine them with Wikipedia, which has excellent case summaries/scholarly reactions/general views on most landmark cases, and you basically have a hornbook. I used the web instead of a hornbook for most of my courses last term, and they haven't kicked me out of law school yet...

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Post by Random Poster » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:10 am

Also, if you are looking for a "streamlined" primer, consider getting "Constitutional Law in a Nutshell."

Perhaps this is a bit harsh, but I found the Nutshell series of books good for law students who didn't really belong in law school.

http://www.amazon.com/Constitutional-La ... 0314261028

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Post by johnjtaylorus » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:40 am

For nostalgia, I keep a Cushman & Cushman dated 1965.

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Post by prh2s » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:00 am

A third vote for Chemerinsky.

Patrick

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anthau
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Post by anthau » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:36 am

Constitutional Law: National Power & Federalism

Constitutional Law: Individual Rights

Older editions can probably be had on the cheap. :wink:

Edit: Chemerinsky also appears to have authored a primer, Constitutional Law: Principles And Policies. Looks less comprehensive than the other two volumes, and I can't vouch for it, but hey, it's one volume.

Edit 2: Eep! And it's 1,368 pages! So much for "less comprehensive."
Best, | | Anth

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Post by prh2s » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:12 am

anthau wrote:Constitutional Law: National Power & Federalism

Constitutional Law: Individual Rights

Older editions can probably be had on the cheap. :wink:

Edit: Chemerinsky also appears to have authored a primer, Constitutional Law: Principles And Policies. Looks less comprehensive than the other two volumes, and I can't vouch for it, but hey, it's one volume.

Edit 2: Eeep! And 1,368 pages!
I'd suggest that Chemerinsky's text is closer to what the OP is looking for: a comprehensive, scholarly overview of federal constitutional law. The "Examples and Explanations" volumes are study guides for law students. The title of that series is a fairly accurate description of their format (which also includes lots of questions to help students review and apply what they've learned).

Patrick

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anthau
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Post by anthau » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:23 am

prh2s wrote:I'd suggest that Chemerinsky's text is closer to what the OP is looking for: a comprehensive, scholarly overview of federal constitutional law. The "Examples and Explanations" volumes are study guides for law students. The title of that series is a fairly accurate description of their format (which also includes lots of questions to help students review and apply what they've learned).

Patrick
Agreed. I still refer back to my E&E series (kept them and pitched the case books), so I have a fondness for them, but shoot: If I were the OP, I'd buy the Chemerinsky both for the "more scholarly tone" and for the price per page. :)
Best, | | Anth

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Post by cinghiale » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:34 am

Newprof,
I have taught con law at the undergrad level for 15 years. Much of your decision making about a text (or texts) will hinge on the abilities of your students. I'm at a public comprehensive teaching university, with good (though not Ivy League) caliber students. The best set of texts I have found is Epstein and Walker's Constitutional Law for a Changing America (CQ Press). It is geared to the two semester approach, with federalism and institutions covered in one volume and civil liberties and rights in the other. I *think* a combined text is also available. You may also want to look at David O'Brien's texts (Norton Press). His commentary is well-written and covers the essentials.

Hope your text previewing goes well.
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