From the Publisher
"This book should find a home in a number of library settings, from public libraries serving the general public to academic libraries serving the needs of budding scholars."
"Recommended for upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals."
"Altogether, this is a well-executed introduction to basic constitutional rights. It would be equally appropriate for the reference or general collection in most public and academic libraries."
American Reference Books Annual
"Highly recommended for public libraries, academic libraries, and high school libraries."
Reference & User Services Quarterly
"The Constitutional Rights Sourcebook … is a handy introduction to the Constitution and the rights it protects."
Against the Grain
This coherent, unambiguous examination of decisions made by the judicial branch of government is thorough and complex, exploring the Constitution and workings of the Supreme Court with stepbystep clarity and objectivity. Judicial review, case selection, and the dissenting process are clearly explained. The bulk of the lengthy text identifies and discusses major cases relating to the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth amendments. Giving an overview of and commentary on each, Renstrom breaks the amendment down into understandable segments and concepts. The discussion of the first amendment freedom of speech concept begins with the "clear and present danger" standard from Schenck v. U.S. in 1919, and proceeds through numerous other concepts including symbolic speech in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) and hate speech in R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992). Especially helpful is the way the author relates cases to each other, explaining how phrases from one decision or dissension become the basis for others, revealing how constitutional law evolves. A chapter on legal words and phrasesfrom basics such as bail, brief, contempt, and hearsay to lesscommon terms such as bad tendency test, certiorari, and preferred position doctrineavoids excessive jargon. Appendixes include a copy of the Constitution, lists of justices, and a chart outlining the court's composition since 1900. Purportedly for general readers as well as academics, students, and the legal community, this resource book might only be accessible to upper level high school students and their teachers, but those who do use it will discover the living law. This sourcebook makes a useful additiontoreference sections of libraries serving those who long to learn about and understand past and present court rulings. Glossary. Index. Charts. Further Reading. Chronology. Appendix. 1999, ABCCLIO, Ages 13 to Adult, 770p. PLB $75. Reviewer: Patti Sylvester Spencer
Methodically and meticulously, Renstrom, a political science professor and constitutional law scholar, takes the reader through a comprehensive and thorough analysis of the individual rights and civil liberties guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Particular attention is focused on the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment, which together form the bulwark of American liberties and the fountain from which they spring. Renstrom's unique approach is to index rights-based amendments in a user-friendly manner that enables the legal novice to pinpoint analysis and commentary via a process of stepwise refinement from general subtopics within each amendment to specific concepts that address key issues. Each concept is fully developed and discussed at the adversarial level, and the discussion is replete with references and analysis drawn from applicable case law. The evolution of legal concepts is traced from one era to another whenever social and political change beget or warrant judicial reinterpretation, as with the flag-burning controversy of the 1980s. A common theme is the dynamism and fluidity of a body of law that can change to meet the changing needs of an evolving society while still firmly maintaining and even strengthening fundamental rights and liberties. This book should find a home in a number of library settings, from public libraries serving the general public to academic libraries serving the needs of budding scholars.--Philip Young Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Lib., New York Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Explicates the fundamental ideas of constitutionalism in general and American constitutional law in particular. Renstrom (political science, Western Michigan U.) offers about 175 Supreme Court cases arranged in chapters focusing on individual amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Features an introduction that explains how constitutional law and the courts work and reviews the history of the Constitution and Supreme court; recent cases that spotlight important issues; extensive cross-referencing; a "significance" section in each case discussion that ties in historical background and other related cases; and terms related to constitutional law. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)