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Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies, 4th Edition (Aspen Student Treatise) [Paperback]

by Erwin Chemerinsky
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 25, 2011 0735598975 978-0735598973 4
Relied on by students, professors, and practitioners, Erwin Chemerinsky's popular treatise, Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies, Fourth Edition, clearly states the law and identifies the underlying policy issues in each area of constitutional law.

The characteristics that make this treatise so highly valued include:

  • Thorough coverage of all areas of constitutional law, suitable for both beginning and advanced courses.
  • Issues are presented clearly and with a neutral approach that examines all sides in constitutional law issues.
  • Discussion not only of doctrines but of the underlying policy issues of the law.
  • Flexible organization: the chapters can be used separately in any order.

Updated throughout, the Fourth Edition:

  • Focuses particularly on developments since the publication of the third edition, including issues involving standing, congressional power, presidential power and the war on terror, preemption, school desegregation, abortion rights and voting rights, and First Amendment issues concerning speech and religion.
  • Includes coverage of the most recent and significant cases :
    • Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation and its implications for taxpayer standing
    • Boumediene v. Bush and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, concerning the war on terror
    • Wyeth v. Levine and Riegel v. Medtronic (preemption cases)
    • Philip Morris USA v. Williams and the law of punitive damages
    • District of Columbia v. Heller (an in-depth look at this case in a new section on the Second Amendment)
    • Gonzalez v. Carhart and its importance in analyzing issues concerning abortion rights
    • Crawford v. Marion County Election Bd. and the law of voting rights
    • Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, on the use of race in school desegregation
    • Garcetti v. Ceballos and its significance for the speech of government employees
    • Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Randall v. Sorrell, and Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC (campaign finance law)
    • Morse v. Frederick and student speech

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Product Details

  • Series: Aspen Student Treatise
  • Paperback: 1440 pages
  • Publisher: Aspen Publishers; 4 edition (May 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735598975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735598973
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Erwin Chemerinsky is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Southern California Law Center.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most valuable study aide of ALL TIME October 19, 2004
By 2L
This is probably the best money I spent my first year of law school. I am still using this book for Con Law II in my second year of school, and it is still just as invaluable to me. For Constitutional Law, canned briefs like legal lines do you no good. You need someone to spell out the principles and the analysis. No one does this as well as Chemerinsky. I could probably name at least 10 other students at school who ordered this book after they saw my copy. My text book for Constitutional Law is a piece of crap, and I would not learn anything if it were not for Chemerinsky. I have a different teacher for my second semester of Con Law, and he teaches verbatim from this book. My first Con Law professor was so impressed from a comment I made in class through something I had read in Chemerinsky that she came up to me after class and thanked me for helping further the class discussion. She was so impressed that I didn't want to tell her I was a fraud! I credit my final grade for Con Law I to Chemerinsky as well.

I know the price for this study aide is a little higher than some of the others, but you will get to use it for at least two semesters. I also heard it is helpful if you take a class on the First Amendment.

Other study aides I bought were barely opened. This one was read more than my text book!

(I never bother to write reviews. That is how pleased I am with how much this book helped me.)
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110 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really understand Con Law (and help your grade, too) April 24, 2003
A central problem with teaching law by the casebook method is that most students also need a clear, expert roadmap of how the cases fit together, and how a particular doctrine that emerges from a line of cases -- sometimes over a century or more -- has evolved, changed, and operates today. Outlines of the black letter law (e.g. Gilberts) aren't as useful for something doctrinal like con law. You want clear exposition in prose. You want concise descriptions of all the important cases and what they stand for. You want Chemerinsky.
All con law students should be grateful that one of the nation's leading Constitutional practitioners and professors has written this book. Its size is intimidating, but that's because it covers far more territory than the typical intro con law class. It's so well-done, though, that it's something serious students and lawyers will want on their bookshelves long after the first year -- as a supplement for advanced-topics classes, and as an essential reference work.
The book is well-organized in an outline format with headings and subheads, so you can easily follow the thread of complex doctrine over time, like the Commerce Clause, or across its varied applications, like Equal Protection. Chapters are thorough but well divided. The organization allows you to find exactly what you need and to zero in on a particular narrow point or case, or to read more expansively about a doctrine's development, change, and varied application. Chemerinsky's prose is neutral, straightforward, always clear. He's analytical but doesn't make arguments. You couldn't say his writing has personality, but it is quite readable.

This book is the con law supplement of choice at my school (Michigan). No one I know has regretted buying it.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Con Law is suddenly clear to me now! February 9, 2003
My Con Law prof is using Sullivan's "Constitutional Law" (14th Ed., University Casebook Series) as our textbook, and our entire class is overwhelmed by both the concepts and the density of the reading (it takes four hours to read 25 pages!).
Then I picked up this book by Chemerinksy, which recommended by our professor. It's /amazing/. We're working on the dormant commerce clause, and Chemerinsky sets out everything incredibly clearly, citing cases (rather than including the entire case itself) and setting out black letter law in an explanation of the Court's rulings. Everything is much easier to understand, and it's much easier to pick out the important issues in the textbook when I read the next assignment. I recommend reading Chemerinsky first, and the textbook second, so the rules pop out at you more readily.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Class Preparation January 6, 2012
By sal528
This supplement is great for class preparation. It really explains everything well. My class did not use the Chemerinsky case book, but this supplement was still extremely helpful. It was organized by topic and I thought that was better for my learning. It is really easy to find specific cases too, as there is an index of cases in the back.

I read the supplement daily after my assigned reading, but before class. I found that I was much more engaged this way, and could participate in the discussion much more than when I didn't read the supplement. I recommend reading the supplement despite what you thought of a certain case; Often times, I thought I understood everything in the case and then Chemerinsky would elaborate on something I hadn't considered. I really think this book is essential for any introductory law school class on Constitutional Law. It is not a good book to buy right before finals though.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide to Con law March 24, 2006
Chemerinsky has done a fine job of connecting the dots and making the ever-evolvong doctrines of American Constitutional jurisprudence understandable. The major weakness with most Con law books is that in focusing on individual cases, the student will often embroil himself or herself in the minutiae of individual cases while losing sight of the bigger picture. The glaring weakness of most commercial outlines is that the pendulum swings too far in the other direction; instead of focuing on individual cases, outlines give the bigger picture without providing enough context and specific information to truly inform the reader. That being said, Chemerinsky has found the perfect balance and his work suffers from neither of the aforementioned flaws. In the words of Goldilocks, Chemerinsky's treatment of Constitutional law is "just right."

Prof. Chemerisnky classifies the subject matter in this book according to general topics that any Con law student will recognize as the subject matter of a general Con law course. Yet, instead of of just providing a distilled outline analysis, Chemerinsky details a case-by-case analysis under each general topical heading and describes the major points and importance of the cases in a few paragraphs. Prof. Chemerinsky's case descriptions and analysis is extremely helpful and highlightss the most important and vital doctrines of the cases as it relates to the general topic being covered. These descriptions serve as a helpful supplement whne actually reading the cases themselves. Moreover, Chemerinsky masterfully ties all the applicable cases together and provides his own enlightening summary of how all the case law interacts so that the reader can understand where the law stands, and where the contours and lines have been drawn.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - Terrible citations
Excellent book. Great and thorough treatment of the material. My one complaint is that this guy can't reliably cite anything. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Frank Chou
1.0 out of 5 stars Ughhhhh
Chances are if you are looking at this book, it's assigned for class. It's boring and tedious, but that goes with the territory. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Jenn
5.0 out of 5 stars Best supplement
This is the best supplement out there for Constitutional Law, no matter what case book you have. Chemerinsky explains everything perfectly.
Published 18 days ago by Bill R.
5.0 out of 5 stars It supplements the text book.
If you are taking Constitutional Law this is the book to have to supplement your text book. Don't go to class without it.
Published 1 month ago by Kevin J. Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great supplement
I bought this book as a supplement. This book is great. I highly recommend this book as a study aid.
Published 2 months ago by CJ
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't do well in con law, you can at least wack someone with...
Very helpful hornbook. Better on Kindle version though, the book is too big to carry around. Kindle version also has search function.

-top 5% at a T1
Published 2 months ago by Alex
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Although the book deal about the American Constitutional Law, reflects what the scholars talk about comparative law. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jose Guerra de Andrade Lima Neto
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is why I didn't drown in Con. Law.
Buy this book. Just do it. If you're Prof. lists this as an optional book, then DEFINITELY buy this book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by NovaTess
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Supplement
This is the best supplement I've read so far, and effectively condensed a very challenging, dense subject to only its vital components. Read more
Published 3 months ago by John Rafael P. Perez
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
Great supplement; clarifies a lot that your casebook may leave ambiguous; or, your casebook may over complicate something that this book spells out clearly. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Joel Gossner
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