18th Edition

American Constitutional Law Introductory Essays and Selected Cases

    854 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    854 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is a collection of comprehensive background essays coupled with carefully edited Supreme Court case excerpts designed to explore constitutional law and the role of the Supreme Court in its development and interpretation. Well-grounded in both theory and politics, the book endeavors to heighten students’ understanding of this critical part of the American political system.


    New to the 18th Edition

    • An account of the Trump impeachments and a full discussion of the recent Supreme Court transitions including recent Supreme Court transitions including the fraught Kavanaugh hearings, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and the nomination process surrounding Amy Coney Barrett.

    • Fourteen new cases carefully edited and excerpted, including Chifalo v. Washington (2020) on the Electoral College, Masterpiece Cakeshop (2018) on gay rights, and three Trump cases as well.
    • Thirty-one new cases discussed in chapter essays in addition.




    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


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

    Donald Grier Stephenson, Jr. is Charles A. Dana Professor of Government, Emeritus, at Franklin and Marshall College where he taught from 1970 until 2017. Reared on a farm near Covington, Georgia, he is a graduate of Davidson College (1964), and received the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University in 1966 and 1967, respectively. Between 1968 and 1970 he was in the United States Army, completing his service at the rank of captain. He is author of Campaigns and the Court: The U.S. Supreme Court in Presidential Elections (1999), The Waite Court (2003), and The Right to Vote (2004), and is coauthor of American Constitutional Law (17th ed. 2018), and Introduction to American Government (9th ed., 2017). He writes "The Judicial Bookshelf" for The Journal of Supreme Court History.

    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