Randy Barnett, professor at Georgetown Law and Director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution, and Josh Blackman, professor at South Texas School of Law, developed An Introduction to Constitutional Law to innovate how constitutional law is studied.
Purchasing the book gives you access to an online library of 63 videos featuring photographs, maps, and even audio from the Supreme Court that bring the 100 cases to life. Blackman says he uses the platform to flip his classroom; the students read the chapters and watch the videos before coming to class. Then he can focus class time on discussing the importance of the decisions and really digging deep into the issues at play.
The book is roughly chronological, but it’s primarily organized around key constitutional principles, such as enumerated powers, federalism, equal protection, and specific constitutional rights. Since it includes background and supporting information for each case, the program also provides a great history and civics education.
The authors emphasized that the book is meant to be widely accessible. While it is great for law students, it is equally valuable for high school and college students. Given our participation in speech and debate, I correctly assumed my kids would be pretty interested when I showed them the book and the video library. We’ve only just begun digging into it.
Barnett describes the book as “an overarching story [constitutional law] about 100 individual stories [the cases].” He says the best way to understand the story, which starts at the founding and continues to the present, is to learn about them in the historical context in which they were decided.
With most Americans lacking even basic knowledge about our constitution, this program could be an important step toward improving constitutional literacy.
PS from izzit.org – Randy Barnett is one of the Constitutional experts in our new video, Becoming Equal Under the Law, which explores how the Constitution has changed over the years to give civil rights to more people. Watch it now!
Colleen Hroncich loves that homeschooling allows her to learn right alongside her children. A published author and former policy analyst, Colleen’s favorite subjects are economics/public policy and history. She has been active in several homeschool co-ops and is a speech and debate coach.