American Law and Legal Systems  book cover
8th Edition

American Law and Legal Systems

ISBN 9781138654396
Published September 15, 2016 by Routledge
416 Pages

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Book Description

American Law and Legal Systems examines the philosophy of law within a political, social, and economic framework with great clarity and insight. Readers are introduced to operative legal concepts, everyday law practices, substantive procedures, and the intricacies of the American legal system. Eliminating confusing legalese, the authors skillfully explain the basics, from how a lawsuit is filed through the final appeal. This new edition provides essential updates to forensic and scientific evidence, contract law, and family law, and includes new text boxes and tables to help students understand, remember, and apply central concepts.

New to the 8th Edition

  • Updates the coverage of environmental law, especially in relation to climate change.
  • Updates the coverage of family law, especially in relation to gay marriage.

  • Includes new coverage of challenges to the Voting Rights Act, campaign finance, and cybersecurity.
  • Covers the effects of social media on judicial proceedings.
  • Includes 16 new cases, including Obergefell v. Hodges.
  • Adds new text boxes on intriguing subjects throughout.
  • Accompanied by an author-written Instructor’s Manual that includes Learning Objectives, Chapter Summaries, Chapter Outlines, Key Terms and Concepts, as well as Test Questions for each chapter.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction

2. History and the Law

3. Court Organization

4. Procedure and Evidence

5. Limitations

6. Constitutional Law

7. Criminal Law

8. Administrative Law

9. Environmental Law

10. Torts

11. Contracts

12. Property

13. Family Law

14. Conclusion

Appendix: Legal Research


Table of Cases


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James V. Calvi is Professor of Political Science at West Texas A&M University.

Susan Coleman is the retired Director of the Criminal Justice Program at West Texas A&M University.



In this excellent eighth edition of American Law and Legal Systems, Calvi and Coleman go beyond describing the legal doctrines at issue to more fully identify, summarize, and apply them; they write at a level that undergraduate students can comprehend without being condescending, and empower students to determine what a particular statute means. It is ideal for students of the American judicial process, and particularly for those considering law school – I will certainly be assigning it again.

Kathleen Waggoner, Iowa State University

With topics matching an undergraduate course introducing the American legal system, Calvi and Coleman's new edition introduces the essential vocabulary and concepts in an accessible way. The work is particularly useful for students considering further law study or preparing for citizenship.

William A. Eagles, University of North Carolina-Greensboro

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