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The Dynamic Constitution: An Introduction to American Constitutional Law

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521600781
ISBN-10: 0521600782
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Editorial Reviews


" offers what is arguably the best single introduction to modern American constitutional law short of a casebook. Highly recommended." J.R. Vile, Middle Tennessee State University, Choice

"This is a superb book. Though written for non-lawyers, the brilliance of The Dynamic Constitution is that everyone from constitutional law professors to those with no training in law can enjoy, understand, and learn from reading it.. I believe that Richard Fallon has produced a successor to Robert McCloskey's classic, The American Supreme Court." Erwin Chemerinsky, University of Southern California Law School

"Fallon's work here offers ascinating insight into the complexities of constitutional law." Kennebec Journal

"For each controversial issue that concerns Americans today, Fallon supplies fascinating judicial history." The Victoria Advocate

Book Description

In this book Harvard law professor Richard H. Fallon introduces non-lawyers to the workings of American Constitutional Law. He writes with clarity and vigor about leading constitutional doctrines and issues, including the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the guarantee of equal protection, rights to fair procedures, and rights to privacy and sexual autonomy. Along the way, Fallon describes many of the fascinating cases and personalities that have shaped constitutional law. He shows how historical, cultural, and other factors have influenced constitutional ajudication, making clear the dynamic nature of the Constitution.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521600782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521600781
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,016,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By not me VINE VOICE on December 20, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're a college student or ordinary reader interested in learning the basics of constitutional law, then Richard Fallon's "The Dynamic Constitution" is a great place to start. The heart of the book is a crisp overview of modern constitutional doctrine in areas such as Free Speech and Equal Protection. These sections are gems of legal exposition. Even better, Fallon puts the legal issues in historical context, discusses how the Supreme Court interprets and applies the Constitution, and relates constitutional "politics" to national politics, as when Nixon came into office in 1969 promising to put "law and order" judges on the Court. The prose is crystal clear, with almost no jargon. Plus the book is short!

Fallon never puts forward a comprehensive theory of constitutional interpretation (though he does get in digs at "originalist" Justices who pick and choose among the "original understandings" of the Founders in order to push a conservative political agenda). He seems ready to live with the messy truth that the Supreme Court weighs many factors when deciding a case: the text of the Constitution, the drafters' intent, judicial precedents, moral values, and the need for stability and consistency in the law -- all the while keeping one eye on the likely political fallout. The result is a body of law that shifts over time and doesn't reflect a tidy jurisprudence, but is able to adapt to changing circumstances (hence the word "dynamic" in the title).

Whether this jumbled system delivers what we want from the Constitution is anyone's guess. While the Supreme Court does have the power to curb the other branches of government, the system for appointing Justices ensures that it doesn't veer far from the political mainstream for very long.
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By CrispyChris on August 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for content, this book is definitely a great choice. It explains the most controversial topics regarding the constitution today. The explaination is very explicit and Fallon incorporates a good amount of examples to support the situation.
One minor imperfection of this book is the appearance. When I received my copy, there was a sharpie mark across the bottom of my book. This imperfection is so minute that it cannot compare to the knowledge this book has to offer.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fanel on February 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
My book arrived fast and i asked for standard shipping and some of the other stuff i ordered arrived later and i put it on expediant shipping.
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