Liberty, Equality and Due Process: Cases, Controversies, and Contexts in Constitutional Law
Copyright Year: 2018
Last Update: 2019
Publisher: CALI's eLangdell® Press
Conditions of Use
Professor Robson does an excellent job identifying and editing cases related to the current issues in Constitutional Law. While discussing some important historical cases and principles, her focus is on current legal standards and issues about... read more
Professor Robson does an excellent job identifying and editing cases related to the current issues in Constitutional Law. While discussing some important historical cases and principles, her focus is on current legal standards and issues about which students will need and want to learn.
Professor Robson's book is written as a law school case book. Her introductions to legal concepts are concise and as unbiased as possible given the hot button issues the cases address. She introduces the cases and poses reflection questions to encourage honest student dialogue around those issues.
This book is subject to the dynamic nature of the evolving body of law. As soon as the courts announce opinions related to Constitutional rights, a case book will need to be updated. This is the unavoidable nature of law. However, this book is organized around legal principles in a way that should make updating the book relatively straightforward.
For a law textbook, this case book is very accessible to readers. The legal terminology is necessary and appropriate, especially when the precise meaning of the legal terms of art are at issue in the cases. It is clear that Professor Robson's goal is to help students understand the law, not to lose them in an avalanche of pedantic paragraphs.
Professor Robson's organization and presentation of concepts are consistent throughout the book.
The book is organized extremely well, especially given the complex legal principles in the cases. The book is organized by overarching legal concepts, with a brief introduction to the legal principles, followed by the relevant edited cases, and ending with homework/reflection questions. It is obvious that Professor Robson has devoted significant time thinking through how to present the information in modules for her students so that they can use the case book as their primary source for class preparation and discussions.
The book follows a logical order of topics. After discussing federalism and judicial review, the book delves into the historical development of slavery and race issues. From there, the book starts to follow more thematic than chronological topics--equal protection in the context of different protected groups and evolving issues.
This book focuses on the language of the court cases, along with written descriptions of them. As a result, there are not any interface issues regarding images and graphics. However, some of the edited cases may be challenging for students utilizing e-readers because of the density and formatting of the court cases.
For the length of the book, there are very few typos and grammatical errors. The main typo that I found affecting the meaning of the content is on page 149 in the discussion of Loving v. Virginia. There is a typo in the sentence regarding the year in which they pleaded guilty.
This case book discusses the equal protection of different protected classes under the US Constitution, with a final chapter discussing some state constitutional provisions. Therefore, it has extensive examples of individuals from different groups within our society. The tone of Professor Robson's writing is culturally sensitive and unbiased, even when the US Supreme Court Justices are not.
This book is written for law students who are studying Constitutional Law and, therefore, utilizes a traditional case book format. A case book may not fit the needs of instructors outside of the law school environment. However, Professor Robson's introductions and summaries of key legal principles may be useful in undergraduate law classes, and her editing of the court opinions is extremely well done. As a result, the edited cases may be useful for instructors to use when preparing for their classes, even if they do not assign the book to their students.
Table of Contents
- Chapter One: An Introduction to Constitutional Law and The Issue of State Action
- Chapter Two: Introduction To Constitutional Interpretation and Judicial Review
- Chapter Three: Slavery and Racial Equality
- Chapter Four: Race and Equal Protection
- Chapter Five: Nonracial Classifications and Equal Protection
- Chapter Six: Fundamental Rights and Equal Protection
- Chapter Seven: The Privileges or Immunities Clause
- Chapter Eight: Incorporation and Fundamental Rights
- Chapter Nine: The Second Amendment
- Chapter Ten: Unenumerated Rights and Due Process
- Chapter Eleven: Liberty, Due Process, and Equal Protection
- Chapter Twelve: State Constitutions
About the Book
This Casebook is intended to be used in a course which concentrates on Constitutional Rights and centers the Fourteenth Amendment. It can be used in a first year Law School course with a title such as “Liberty, Equality, and Due Process,” as it is at CUNY School of Law, an upper division Constitutional Rights course, or an advanced undergraduate course focusing on constitutional rights, especially equality and due process.
The Casebook begins with the threshold issue of “state action” which orients students to a basic but often under-taught principle of constitutional law. The Casebook then considers judicial review and constitutional interpretation. Chapters 3-6 center on equality, including slavery before the Reconstruction Amendments, equal protection for racial, gender, and other classifications, affirmative action, and fundamental rights in equal protection doctrine. Chapters 7-9 are shorter chapters that consider the Privileges or Immunities Clause, Incorporation of Bill of Rights provisions to the states, and the Second Amendment. Chapter 10 focuses on substantive due process, with Chapter 11 treating the “synergy” between due process and equal protection regarding fundamental rights. The brief last Chapter, Chapter 12, includes materials on state constitutional rights, which can be omitted or integrated into previous subjects.
About the Contributors
Ruthann Robson is Professor of Law and University Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law.
She is the author of FIRST AMENDMENT : CASES , CONTROVERSIES , AND CONTEXTS (eLangdell).
Her other books include DRESSING CONSTITUTIONALLY: HIERARCHY, SEXUALITY, AND DEMOCRACY (2013); SAPPHO GOES TO LAW SCHOOL (1998); GAY MEN, LESBIANS, AND THE LAW (1996); and LESBIAN (OUT)LAW: SURVIVAL UNDER THE RULE OF LAW (1992).
She is also the editor of the three volume set, INTERNATIONAL LIBRARY OF ESSAYS IN SEXUALITY & LAW (2011). She is one of two editors of the Constitutional Law Professors Blog and a frequent commentator on constitutional and sexuality issues.
She is one of the 26 professors selected for inclusion in WHAT THE BEST LAW TEACHERS DO (Harvard University Press, 2013) .