The Volokh Conspiracy

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An Introduction to Constitutional Law: 100+ Supreme Court Cases Everyone Should Know

The Second Edition of the best-selling book is now available for pre-order.


Randy Barnett and I are proud to announce that the Second Edition of our best-selling book is now available for pre-order. An Introduction to Constitutional Law: 100+ Supreme Court Cases Everyone Should Know. The book is already the #1 new release in the Amazon category for Constitutional Law. When the book was launched in 2019, it sold out right away, and it took months for the stock to be refilled. Order the book today! And we will have more exciting announcements later this week.

Here I include the Author's Note, which describes what is new and different for the Second Edition–including essays on Dobbs, Bruen, and Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.

The first edition of An Introduction to Constitutional Law was published in September 2019. We innovated a product that did not exist on the market: incisive and balanced summaries of landmark decisions, written by leading constitutional law scholars, combined with an engaging video library, in an affordable paperback edition. By any metric, the past three years have been a resounding success.

The book has sold tens of thousands of copies, far surpassing all forecasts. Law school professors across the country have adopted 100 Cases. Indeed, many professors who started with 100 Cases as a supplement to another casebook have later adopted our casebook, which includes access to the video library. And thousands of students have found and used 100 Cases on their own to supplement the text their professor assigned. In addition to law schools, 100 Cases has been used at all levels of academia: in undergraduate constitutional law courses, high school political science classes, homeschools, and international programs for foreign students. In a short period of time, our book has consistently outsold well- established constitutional law treaties and horn books. Students and teachers alike routinely send us notes of praise, thanking us for our unique and accessible product.

Our book has also reached a broader general audience outside of academia and the law. As soon as the book was available for pre- order, the initial print run was completely sold out. For some time, the book was nearly impossible to find. In early 2020, after several prominent media interviews, the book skyrocketed to #4 on the Amazon best- seller list. The book was back- ordered for months. To date, 100 Cases has received more than 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon, dwarfing the feedback for similar titles.

We are deeply proud of our accomplishments to date. And this new edition will bring several improvements. First, we have modified the subtitle: 100+ Supreme Court Cases Everyone Should Know. Adding a "+ " is subtle but significant. We realized early on that it would be impossible to keep the count at exactly 100. Indeed, the first edition actually had 103 cases— but who's counting? This revised subtitle allows the constitutional corpus to wax and wane over time.

Second, we added and subtracted cases to reflect the current Supreme Court in flux. We removed United States v. Windsor (2013) and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (2014), as the vitality of those precedents has quickly faded. In the Establishment Clause section, we deleted McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky (2005) and Van Orden v. Perry (2005). Justice Breyer's retirement vitiated the relevance of those cases. In their place, we added two cases that follow the "history and tradition" approach to the Establishment Clause: Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014) and American Legion v. American Humanist Association (2019). And, on short notice, we added a brief discussion of Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (2022), which seems to have abandoned the Lemon test.

We included two other cases that were decided in June 2022. We replaced Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (2016) with Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2022). And we added New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen (2022). These cases relied on originalist methodologies to decide substantive due process and Second Amendment cases, respectively. Due to our exceedingly tight publication deadlines, the Dobbs and Bruen chapters had to be completed within a week after those lengthy cases were decided. We also preemptively removed the two affirmative action cases from the University of Texas. These two precedents by Justice Kennedy will likely be superseded by the Harvard and North Carolina cases, which should be decided by June 2023. We expect a lot more doctrine will shift when the third edition is (hopefully) published circa 2026. What will constitutional law and the Supreme Court look like at the semiquincentennial of the Declaration of Independence?

Third, to make our product more useful to high school classes, we included all fifteen required cases for the Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics course. We already covered eight of those cases, and have now added the other seven: Engel v. Vitale (1962), Baker v. Carr (1962), Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), New York Times v. United States (1971), Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972), and Shaw v. Reno (1993). We also included Miranda v. Arizona (1966) in a new section on the rights of the accused. We also have developed a wealth of resources for teachers to use in class, including slides, a teacher's manual, and a bank of study guide questions. Moreover, we worked diligently with Aspen Publishing to open up new distribution channels. Classes, schools, and even districts can obtain digital licenses and year- long subscriptions of our content. Now, students at all levels will be able to easily access our material on devices.

Fourth, Josh accomplished his long- standing goal: an illustrated "coffee table" version of Constitutional Places, Constitutional Faces. We have now published a hardcover, full- color, glossy version of 100+ Cases. In it, all of the same cases are supplemented by photographs, maps, portraits, and other enriching visuals to bring the law to life. The design is exquisite, and we include visuals you probably have never seen before. If you're reading this note, you have the black- and- white paperback edition. Treat yourself or a loved one and order the luminous illustrated edition; it will make a treasured keepsake gift for a lawyer, law student, or Supreme Court wonk.

Shortly after the first edition was launched, Randy and Josh had lunch near Capitol Hill. Josh told Randy that this product would sell a million copies over its lifetime. Randy responded with a healthy and well- deserved dose of skepticism. We are not there yet but, in time, we hope to achieve this goal, and educate people around the globe about constitutional law and the Supreme Court.