Bowie's Federal Constitutional Law

Foundation Press
Primary Subject
Constitutional Law
University Casebook Series
Publication Date
Hardbound - New, hardbound print book.
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This casebook approaches the study of constitutional law by focusing on the history of how each clause of the original Constitution and the Reconstruction Amendments has been interpreted over time. On the assumption that readers have no background in U.S. history, the author’s commentary puts judicial and nonjudicial interpretations in historical context, describing the political disputes and ideological principles behind each interpretation. Within each excerpted case, the casebook also includes notes and questions to guide readers, explain allusions, and challenge students to assess whether they understand and agree with the decision’s implications.

Considered together, the commentary, notes, and questions are oriented around an understanding of the Constitution as a document whose text has historically failed to answer the most important questions asked of it, requiring interpreters to resolve major constitutional debates not only by reading the text but also by weighing competing normative principles such as distributive justice, individual autonomy, and white supremacy. The result provides students with a deep understanding of modern constitutional doctrine, the historical contingencies that produced the doctrine, and a vocabulary for applying or challenging that doctrine to—in the words of the preamble—“establish Justice.”