American Constitutional Law : Introductory Essays and Selected Cases book cover
18th Edition

American Constitutional Law
Introductory Essays and Selected Cases

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 29, 2021
ISBN 9780367758639
September 29, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

At a critical juncture in US Supreme Court history, the new edition of this classic text helps students explore constitutional law and the role of the Supreme Court in its development and interpretation. Well-grounded in both theory and politics, the text combines carefully selected and edited Supreme Court case excerpts with comprehensive background essays to heighten students' interest in and understanding of this crucial arena of our system of government.

The eighteenth edition of this revered text has been fully revised and updated to include:

  • Discusses the constitutional implications of the Trump impeachments and recent Supreme Court transitions including the fraught Kavanaugh hearings, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and the nomination process surrounding Amy Coney Barrett.
  • Expands the book’s longstanding account of all Supreme Court appointments since 1968.
  • Highlights recent attacks on the Supreme Court, including comments by Trump both before and after the 2020 election.
  • Reprints a brief excerpt from oral argument at the Supreme Court.

  • Fourteen new cases carefully edited and excerpted, including Chifalo v. Washington (2020) on the Electoral College, Masterpiece Cakeshop (2018) on the conflict between gay rights and religion, three other new cases on religious freedom, plus three Trump cases as well.
  • Thirty-one additional new cases discussed in chapter essays.
  • Looks at the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the context of "Security and Freedom in Wartime and Other Crises."
  • Spotlights the US Constitution up front in the text with a prelude hearkening to the Constitutional Convention.
  • Retains a summary of helpful hints on reading and understanding a decision by the Supreme Court.



Table of Contents


The Constitution of the United States Of America

Introduction: A Political Supreme Court

1. Jurisdiction and Organization of the Federal Courts

2. The Constitution, the Supreme Court, and Judicial Review

3. Congress and the President

4. Federalism

5. The Electoral Process

6. The Commerce Clause

7. National Taxing and Spending Power

8. Property Rights and the Development of Due Process

9. The Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment

10. Criminal Justice

11. Freedom of Expression

12. Religious Liberty

13. Privacy

14. Equal Protection of the Laws

15. Security and Freedom in Wartime and  Pandemic

Appendix A: Justices of the Supreme Court

Appendix B: Presidents and Justices

Appendix C: American Constitutional Development as Reflected in a Chronology of Cases Reprinted in This Book


Index of Cases

Index of Subjects and Names

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Alpheus Thomas Mason (late) was McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus at Princeton University.

Donald Grier Stephenson, Jr. is Charles A. Dana Professor of Government at Franklin & Marshall College.


Praise for American Constitutional Law: Introductory Essays and Selected Cases, 18th Edition

"In its 18th edition, Mason and Stephenson’s  American Constitutional Law does not disappoint. It continues the authors’ tradition of publishing a well-edited, lucidly written, accessible text for undergraduate audiences that is ideal for a single-semester course. The case selection is complete and up-to-date and the authors’ introductory essays are crisp and comprehensive. I’ve used Mason and Stephenson throughout my teaching career and I look forward to using the new edition."

Mark Rush, Washington and Lee University

"Mason and Stephenson’s American Constitutional Law remains the leader among single-volume undergraduate constitutional law casebooks. The new edition has been updated to cover cases through the most recent Supreme Court term; examine the changes in the Court’s composition and the less-than-statesmanlike confirmation battles that preceded those changes; consider the early jurisprudential results of Donald Trump’s three appointees—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett; and explore the effects of a global pandemic, a presidential impeachment, and an incredibly contentious 2020 presidential election on the work of the Court. The cases are masterfully edited, and meticulously written introductory essays place them in their proper context. The engaging part of a course on constitutional law comes from the professor, not the textbook. But Mason and Stephenson certainly make the job easier."

Richard A. Glenn, Millersville University


Praise for Previous Editions

"Mason and Stephenson’s American Constitutional Law continues to be the gold standard. The book introduction immediately intrigues the reader and offers a rich historical background. The cases are thoughtfully selected, introduced with clear and engaging explanations."

Robert J. Bresler, Pennsylvania State University

"In American Constitutional Law, Mason and Stephenson provide an illuminating look into the institutional tensions inherent in the constitution. This single-volume introduction to Constitutional Law covers both the structure of government as well as the people's rights and liberties. By integrating the latest in Supreme Court politics and electoral politics, this text provides students with the latest perspectives on constitutional developments."

Kati Mohammad-Zadeh, University of Minnesota

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