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Constitutional Law for a Changing America

Constitutional Law for a Changing America
Institutional Powers and Constraints

Tenth Edition

January 2019 | 784 pages | CQ Press
A host of political factors—both internal and external—influence the Court’s decisions and shape the development of constitutional law. Among the more significant forces at work are the ways lawyers and interest groups frame legal disputes, the ideological and behavioral propensities of the justices, the politics of judicial selection, public opinion, and the positions that elected officials take, to name just a few. Combining lessons of the legal model with the influences of the political process, Constitutional Law for a Changing America shows how these dynamics shape the development of constitutional doctrine. 

The Tenth Edition offers rigorous, comprehensive content in a student-friendly manner. With meticulous revising and updating throughout, best-selling authors Lee Epstein and Thomas G. Walker streamline material while accounting for new scholarship and recent landmark cases—including key opinions handed down through the 2018 judicial session. Well-loved features keep students engaged by offering a clear delineation between commentary and opinion excerpts, a “Facts” and “Arguments” section before every case, a superb photo program, “Aftermath” and “Global Perspective” boxes, and a wealth of tables, figures, and maps. Students will walk away with an understanding that Supreme Court cases involve real people engaged in real disputes and are not merely legal names and citations.

Bundle with the Resource Center for FREE! 
Take your constitutional law class beyond the book with Epstein and Walker’s newly redesigned Resource Center, featuring more than 500 excerpted, supplemental cases referenced in the commentary of the Constitutional Law for a Changing America volumes. The Resource Center offers a place for students to study core content with online quizzes and explore court cases, biographies, and reference material. Instructors can find teaching materials, including hypothetical cases paired with discussion questions and writing assignments, moot-court simulations, test banks, and more. 

Ensure FREE access—use bundle ISBN: 978-1-5443-6930-3
Chronological Table of Cases
Tables, Figures, and Boxes
About the Authors
The Road to the U.S. Constitution

Underlying Principles of the Constitution

CHAPTER 1. Understanding the U.S. Supreme Court
Processing Supreme Court Cases

Supreme Court Decision Making: Legalism

Supreme Court Decision Making: Realism

Conducting Research on the Supreme Court

Origins of the Separation of Powers/Checks and Balances System

Separation of Powers and the Constitution

Contemporary Thinking on the Constitutional Scheme

CHAPTER 2. The Judiciary
Establishment of the Federal Judiciary

Judicial Review

Constraints on Judicial Power: Article III

Constraints on Judicial Power and the Separation of Powers System

CHAPTER 3. The Legislature
Article I: Historical Overview

Congressional Authority over Internal Affairs: Institutional Independence and Integrity

Legislative Powers: Sources and Scope

Federal Legislature: Constitutional Interpretations

CHAPTER 4. The Executive
The Structure of the Presidency

The President’s Constitutional Authority and Tools for Executing It

The Faithful Execution of the Laws: Defining the Contours of Presidential Power

Domestic Powers of the President

The Role of the President in External Relations

CHAPTER 5. Interbranch Interactions
Debates over Interbranch Interactions

Domestic Powers

Powers over Foreign Affairs

The Framers and Federalism

The Tenth and Eleventh Amendments

CHAPTER 6. Federalism
The Doctrinal Cycle of Nation–State Relations

The Eleventh Amendment and Sovereign Immunity

National Preemption of State Laws

CHAPTER 7. The Commerce Power
Foundations of the Commerce Power

Attempts to Define the Commerce Power in the Wake of the Industrial Revolution

The Supreme Court and the New Deal

The Era of Expansive Commerce Clause Jurisprudence

Limits on the Commerce Power: The Republican Court Era

Commerce Power of the States

CHAPTER 8. The Power to Tax and Spend
The Constitutional Power to Tax and Spend

Direct Taxes and the Power to Tax Income

Taxation of Exports

Intergovernmental Tax Immunity

Taxation as a Regulatory Power

Taxing and Spending for the General Welfare

Restrictions on the Revenue Powers of the States

CHAPTER 9. The Contract Clause
The Framers and the Contract Clause

John Marshall and the Contract Clause

Decline of the Contract Clause: From the Taney Court to the New Deal

Modern Applications of the Contract Clause

CHAPTER 10. Economic Substantive Due Process
Development of Substantive Due Process

The Roller-Coaster Ride of Substantive Due Process: 1898–1923

The Heyday of Substantive Due Process: 1923–1936

The Depression, the New Deal, and the Decline of Economic Substantive Due Process

Substantive Due Process: Contemporary Relevance

CHAPTER 11. The Takings Clause
Protecting Private Property from Government Seizure

What Is a Taking?

What Constitutes a Public Use?

Reference Material
Constitution of the United States

The Justices


Online Case Archive Index

Case Index
Subject Index


Instructor Resource Site

Instructor Resource site 

  • The Constitutional Law for a Changing America Resource Center features more than 500 supplemental cases that are mentioned or referenced in the text’s commentary. The authors have excerpted each case in the same format as those in the text, featuring the justices’ votes, a summary of case facts, and a carefully edited version of the justices’ opinions. The authors continue to post recent cases as soon as each Supreme Court term ends, making this the most up-to-date resource of its kind. 
    ORDER THE CORRECT ISBN to ensure that your students get FREE access to the cases. 
    Use bundle ISBN:  978-1-5443-6930-3
  • Test banks provide a diverse range of prewritten options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
    Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course.
  • An instructor manual features case briefs, notes, and questions to support your lectures and class discussions.
  • Tables and figures from the book are provided for your courses.
  • Hypothetical cases and questions help your students apply knowledge of court cases by analyzing and deciding simulated cases as a hypothetical justice. You can use these cases for mock trials, in-class discussion, exams, or homework assignments.
  • Additional short-answer questions based on court cases in the book provide another way to assess students’ understanding of key facts and concepts.
Student Study Site

Student Study site 

  • The Constitutional Law for a Changing America Resource Center features more than 500 supplemental cases that are mentioned or referenced in the text’s commentary. The authors have excerpted each case in the same format as those in the text, featuring the justices’ votes, a summary of case facts, and a carefully edited version of the justices’ opinions. The authors continue to post recent cases as soon as each Supreme Court term ends, making this the most up-to-date resource of its kind. Students must order the bundle ISBN 978-1-5443-6930-3 to get FREE access to the cases.
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow students to independently assess their own mastery of course material.
  • Mobile-friendly court case quizzes allow students to check their understanding of key facts on the court cases covered in the book.

“This is the best undergraduate text I’ve found for teaching the evolution of the Supreme Court’s decision-making on constitutional rights and liberties.  The authors strike an excellent balance between providing essential contextual material and offering well edited opinions of the Court on key topics. Students consistently respond positively to the textbook because it so engaging and accessible, in terms of both writing style and layout/design.”

Linda J. Wharton
Professor of Political Science & Pre-Law Advisor, Stockton University

“If you are teaching a course on Constitutional Law, you should use Epstein and Walker’s book. They have provided the gold standard. This book is chalked full of cases, concepts, analysis, and useful tables and charts. I think they present the political discussion in an ideologically neutral manner and stick to the facts when it comes to covering the main material. Epstein and Walker provide all of the tools that are needed for an instructor to properly present the material and for students to easily grasp the concepts in a course involving constitutional principles, institutional powers, and the checks on the exercise of power.”

Sean D. Foreman, Ph.D.
Professor, Political Science, Chair, Department of History & Political Science, Barry University

This textbook is a thorough and thought-provoking textbook that provides historical context to assist students in understanding the complex, political, and evolutionary nature of the Supreme Court.

Christi Lee Gramling
Charleston Southern University

Excellent Coverage and accessible to students.

Professor Miguel R. Rivera
Political Science Dept, John Brown University
October 4, 2021

Excellent in all regards

Professor Michael Gold-Biss
Political Science, North Hennepin Cmty College
August 28, 2020