Thursday, January 31, 2019

Farber & Siegel's United States Constitutional Law (2019)

Neil Siegel

Dan Farber of UC Berkeley Law School and I are thrilled to announce the publication of our new introduction to U.S. Constitutional Law, which focuses on the dynamic interactions between judge-made constitutional doctrine and constitutional politics in the areas of constitutional law that are most commonly covered in the basic course in law school.

Here is the description by Foundation Press, which also includes generous endorsements by Jack Balkin and David Strauss:
United States Constitutional Law guides law students, political science students, and engaged citizens through the complexities of U.S. Supreme Court doctrine—and its relationship to constitutional politics—in key areas ranging from federalism and presidential power to equal protection and substantive due process. Rather than approach constitutional law as a static structure or imagine the Supreme Court as acting in isolation from society, the book elaborates and clarifies key constitutional doctrines while also drawing on scholarship in law and political science that relates the doctrines to large social changes such as industrialization, social movements such as civil rights and second-wave feminism, and institutional tensions between governmental actors. Combining legal analysis with historical narrative and sensitivity to political context, the book provides deeper understanding of how constitutional law arises, functions, and changes in a complex, often-divided society.
Here is an excerpt from the Preface:
We approached this project with two goals in mind. First and foremost, for the benefit of students in law and political science and interested members of the public, we wanted to provide a clear, accessible, balanced, and intellectually sophisticated introduction to the field of U.S. constitutional law. In our view, providing such an introduction requires close attention both to the legal doctrine that is developed by the U.S. Supreme Court and to the ideas about the Constitution that circulate in constitutional politics—especially within social movements, political parties, and governmental institutions.

Second, by carefully documenting the interaction between judge-made constitutional law and constitutional politics in almost every area of constitutional law that is covered in the basic course in law school, we sought to make an intellectual contribution of our own. We wanted to document not just “dialogue” between the Constitution inside and outside the courts, but also the extent to which each is shaped by the other. In addition, we wished to offer theoretical ideas, historical examples, and citations to various literatures that scholars and instructors in law and political science might benefit from consulting as they pursue their own research and teaching. Among many other things, readers will find discussions within these pages of the main theories of constitutional interpretation; collective action federalism and more formalist approaches to constitutional federalism; the debate over the theory of the unitary executive; the benefits and costs of abandoning robust judicial protection of economic liberty; the three main mediating principles of constitutional equality, which model disagreements over race within both the Court and American society; the ideology of the separate spheres for men and women, which the women’s movement sought—with substantial but incomplete success—to disestablish; and the modern Court’s efforts to vindicate equality values in addition to liberty values under substantive due process.  
The introductory chapter, which provides an overview of the book and explains our approach, is available here.

The book is now available on Amazon.

Older Posts
Newer Posts