Higher Education

American Constitutional Law: Sources of Power and Restraint, Volume I, 5th Edition

  • Otis H. Stephens, Jr. University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • John M. Scheb, II, Ph.D. Professor of Political Science, University of Tennessee
  • ISBN-10: 0495914894  |  ISBN-13: 9780495914891
  • 448 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2008, 2003, 1999
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $117.75
  • Newer Edition Available
  *Why an online review copy?
  • It's the greener, leaner way to review! An online copy cuts down on paper and on time. Reduce the wait (and the weight) of printed texts. Your online copy arrives instantly, and you can review it anytime from your computer or favorite mobile device.

If you prefer a print copy to review, please contact your representative.



AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, Volumes I and II, combines cases, decisions, and authorial commentary to make the texts a perfect instructional choice. These comprehensive volumes cover the entire range of topics in constitutional law. Each of the chapters includes an extended essay providing the legal, historical, political, and cultural contexts for the set of edited decisions from the United States Supreme Court case that follows. In selecting, editing, and updating the materials, the authors emphasize recent trends in major areas of constitutional interpretation. At the same time, the authors include many landmark decisions, some of which retain importance as precedents while others illustrate the transient nature of constitutional interpretation. Because the book provides a good balance of decisions and authorial commentary, this text appeals to instructors of law as well as instructors of political science.

Features and Benefits

  • This edition includes acknowledgement of all, or nearly all, of the Court's consequential decisions made in the last five years.
  • Not merely a casebook, this comprehensive textbook caters to undergraduate constitutional law students by providing historical and biographical background information that is crucial to understanding the principle that is set in each case.
  • Dissenting and concurring opinions are included to reveal the political struggle among Justices.
  • A companion Web site includes links to Supreme Court archive of cases—giving students the freedom to explore additional cases while offering instructors the chance to take their course beyond the textbook.
  • Pedagogy includes key terms, part-ending summaries, which help keep the student on track as they read through each chapter and suggested Internet resources to encourage further study.

Table of Contents

1. The Supreme Court in the Constitutional System.
2. Congress and the Development of National Power.
3. Constitutional Underpinnings of the Presidency.
4. The Constitution and the Complexities of Modern Governance
5. The Dynamics of the Federal System.

What's New

  • New! Cases have been updated and new cases have been added to reflect major Supreme Court decisions in the last five years have been added.
  • New! Case-in-Point boxes are concise summaries of cases that illustrate key concepts.
  • New! Supreme Court Perspective boxes provide brief excerpts from important Supreme Court decisions pertaining to specific issues of criminal law and procedure.
  • New! Legal Foundations boxes provide historical background on key concepts pertaining to constitutional law.
  • New! Sidebars furnish relevant information without disrupting the flow of the text.
  • New! The website has been updated with additional cases not found in the book.
  • New! The instructor's manual has been updated with new test questions and new sections on how to introduce a lecture topic to the class.
  • New! The student website now contains tutorial quizzes, glossaries, crossword puzzles, and flashcards, all correlated by chapter.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"Extremely well-written, and the language is crisp and clear. The introductory material for each section, in particular, is noteworthy."-- Patricia Gormley, Florida International University

— Patricia Gormley, Florida International University

"Easy to understand, great introduction to chapters, very student friendly."-- Kimberly Hutson, Norfolk State University

— Kimberly Hutson, Norfolk State University

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Otis H. Stephens, Jr.

Otis H. Stephens, Jr. is Alumni Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and Resident Scholar of Constitutional Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Professor Stephens holds a Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from the University of Tennessee. Professor Stephens is the author of THE SUPREME COURT AND CONFESSIONS OF GUILT(1973) and co-author, with Gregory J. Rathjen, of THE SUPREME COURT AND THEALLOCATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL POWER (1980) and, with John M. Scheb II, of AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: ESSAYS AND CASES (1988). He is co-author with Richard A. Glenn of UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES: RIGHTS ANDLIBERTIES UNDER THE LAW (2006). He is co-editor with John M. Scheb II and Kara A. Stookesbury of ENCYLCOPEDIA OF AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIESVOLUMES I-III (2006). He has contributed chapters to COMPARATIVE HUMANRIGHTS, ed. Richard A. Claude (1976) and THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION ANDHUMAN RIGHTS, ed. Tinsely E. Yarborugh (1985) and AMERICAN NATIONALSECURITY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES IN AN ERA OF TERRORISM, eds. David B. Cohen and John W. Wells (2004) and to LAW TOUCHED OUR HEARTS: A GENERATIONREMEMBERS BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION, eds. Mildred Wigfall Robinson and Richard J. Bonnie (2009). He has also authored or co-authored a number of articles in professional journals, including the GEORGETOWN LAW JOURNAL, the JOURNALOF PUBLIC LAW, the TENNESSEE LAW REVIEW, the WIDNER JOURNAL OF PUBLICLAW, the SOUTHEASTERN POLITICAL REVIEW, and the CRIMINAL LAW BULLETIN. Dr. Stephens is also a member of the Tennessee Bar and of the United States Supreme Court Bar. Professor Stephens now teaches full time for the UT College of Law. PUBLIC LAW, the TENNESSEE LAW REVIEW, the WIDNER JOURNAL OFPUBLIC LAW, the SOUTHEASTERN POLITICAL REVIEW, and the CRIMINAL LAWBULLETIN. Dr. Stephens is also a member of the Tennessee Bar. Professor Stephens now teaches full time for the UT College of Law.

John M. Scheb, II, Ph.D.

John M. Scheb, II attended the University of Florida, where he received a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in political science. He is now Professor and Head of Political Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he specializes in public law, courts, and the judicial process. Professor Scheb has authored numerous articles in professional journals and is coauthor of several other textbooks, including: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE AMERICAN LEGAL SYSTEM, 3rd Edition (Wolters Kluwer, 2013), LAW AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS (Thomson/Wadsworth, 2005), and AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, 6th Edition (Wadsworth/Cengage, 2014).