I spent much of last year doing something somewhat unusual for a junior faculty member — working on a constitutional law casebook. With most law students’ and professors’ semesters ending (we here at the University of Chicago still have a few weeks to go in our quarter), I thought I’d write a little bit about why.
The book I joined — “The Constitution of the United States,” by Michael Stokes Paulsen, Steven Calabresi, Michael McConnell and Samuel Bray — had already been through two editions. Each edition, including the third, has reflected a fairly substantial overhaul that has made the book (I think) better and better, but it has retained a basic organizing principle that sets it apart from most other constitutional law casebooks — the centrality of the Constitution itself. Without speaking for my co-authors, who have been on the book for far longer than I have and have written an excellent preface, I thought I’d explain why I think that organizing principle is so important to teaching constitutional law.
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