Higher Education

Judicial Process: Law, Courts, and Politics in the United States, 6th Edition

  • David W. Neubauer University of New Orleans
  • Stephen S. Meinhold University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • ISBN-10: 1111357560  |  ISBN-13: 9781111357566
  • 544 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2010, 2007, 2004
  • © 2013 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $162.75
  • Newer Edition Available
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Working within the framework of law and politics, JUDICIAL PROCESS combines detailed information about the major structures and processes of the American judiciary with an insider's understanding of the importance of courthouse dynamics. From the organization and procedures of the various courts to the current applications of specific laws, the Sixth Edition explores the roles and impact of the judicial system. Throughout the text, the authors not only explain what the legal rules are but also explore each rule's underlying assumptions, history, and goals, providing a complete and balanced look at the role of the judicial system today.

Features and Benefits

  • The authors incorporate the latest court decisions, including important rulings at the U.S. Supreme Court, state courts of last resort, and appellate court levels, to give students insight into the roles and key debates in each.
  • The text focuses on the current "hot topics" from the field, such as the issues surrounding the rights of prisoners and enemy combatants, same sex marriage, and the Internet.
  • Photographs, graphs, tables, and illustrative exhibits convey important facts and background information in a lively, visual fashion that appeals to students.
  • Each chapter focuses on one or two controversial court cases, giving students the opportunity to examine the nature of the debate in depth while sifting through pertinent research.
  • Thematic boxes in each chapter add compelling content and increase student interest in the text. "Courts in Comparative Perspective" introduces students to the court systems of other nations. "Case Close-Up" boxes highlight landmark decisions, look at the people involved, and offer a glimpse into the aftermath of key judicial decisions. "Debating Law, Courts, and Politics" boxes emphasize the importance of courts as political institutions and engage students in current debates within the process. The "Law and Popular Culture" feature encourages students to contrast popular culture with what they have learned.
  • To facilitate students' study and review process, each chapter ends with suggestions for further reading, references, and a list of the key terms found in the chapter.

Table of Contents

1. Law, Courts, and Politics.
2. Law and Legal Systems.
3. Federal Courts.
4. State Courts.
5. Lawyers and Legal Representation.
6. Judges.
7. Mobilizing the Law: Litigants, Interest Groups, Court Cases, and the Media.
8. Trial Courts: The Preliminary Stages of Criminal Cases.
9. Trial Courts: How Criminal Cases End: Bargaining and Sentencing.
10. Trial Courts: How Civil Cases Begin.
11. Trial Courts: How Civil Cases End.
12. Trials and Juries.
13. The Appellate Process.
14. The Supreme Court: Deciding What to Decide.
15. The Supreme Court: The Justices and Their Decisions.

What's New

  • A renewed emphasis on the most recent scholarship on the law and courts adds more sophisticated coverage to the new edition while retaining the accessibility that makes this book so appealing to instructors and students alike.
  • A running case study of the Gulf oil spill appears in many chapters, highlighting the political science foundations of the law. Issues covered include maritime law, special funds distributions, criminal and civil law, lawyers, interest groups, judges, and federal and state law.
  • Chapter 1 has been substantially revised to focus on introducing the most important content such as the nature of law, statutes, and the common law system.
  • Content has been streamlined and shortened while retaining its depth and breadth of coverage as the most comprehensive judicial process text available.
  • New topics covered include: court cases dealing with campaign finance, national healthcare, and same-sex marriage; increased coverage of immigration and border control issues; new coverage of death row exonerations; and new coverage of the World Court.
  • Updates on Supreme Court decision making and the Roberts court with a special focus on the addition of Elena Kagan.
  • New scholarly literature on law, courts, and politics has been integrated.
  • Expanded "key developments in the law" and "steps in the process" timelines help students understand the evolution of law within the framework of the judicial process.
  • New "Law and Popular Culture" boxes on the films "Blood Diamond," "Dead Man Walking," "Reversal of Fortune," and "Erin Brockovich."
  • Charts, tables, and graphs have been thoroughly updated.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"Thorough, clearly written, ...easily understood yet academically rigorous."

— David Roebuck, Columbia College (MO)

"It goes beyond what typical Judicial Process books cover by also explaining the different kinds of legal systems, differences in criminal/civil law as well as discussing the role of lawyers and judges in the system. While it has a great deal of breadth, most of the individual chapters go into depth as well."

— Valerie Hoekstra, Arizona State University


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Test Bank, PowerPoint®  (ISBN-10: 1428273239 | ISBN-13: 9781428273238)

A set of book-specific PowerPoint® lectures make it easy for you to assemble, edit, publish, and present custom lectures for your course. The slides provide outlines specific to every chapter of JUDICIAL PROCESS, 6E include tables, statistical charts, graphs, and photos from the book as well as outside sources. In addition, the slides are completely customizable for a powerful and personalized presentation. The Test Bank and PowerPoint® lectures have all been updated with new material to reflect changes in the new edition.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

David W. Neubauer

David William Neubauer has taught at the University of Florida, at Washington University in St. Louis, and most recently at the University of New Orleans. In addition to this best-selling text, he is the author of DEBATING CRIME: RHETORIC AND REALITY, and BATTLE SUPREME: THE CONFIRMATION OF CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS AND THE FUTURE OF THE SUPREME COURT, both from Wadsworth. His articles have appeared in a wide array of scholarly journals, including Law and Society Review, Judicature, Policy Studies Journal, and Law and Policy Quarterly. Dr. Neubauer's current research interests include nominations to the Supreme Court and religion in public life.

Stephen S. Meinhold

Stephen S. Meinhold is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where he teaches classes on Judicial Politics, Constitutional Law, the Presidency, and Research Methods. Dr. Meinhold recently published the new Wadsworth title BATTLE SUPREME: THE CONFIRMATION OF CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS AND THE FUTURE OF THE SUPREME COURT. Professor Meinhold's current research focuses on college students' use of attorneys, their plans to attend law school, and their attitudes about the legal system. He has published articles in POLITICAL RESEARCH QUARTERLY, SOCIAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY, JUSTICE SYSTEM JOURNAL, and PS: POLITICAL SCIENCE AND POLITICS.