The seventh edition of The First Amendment: Cases, Problems and Materials continues the problem-based approach of the prior editions, with its emphasis on longer cases (so that the court can speak for itself) and fewer notes, but also includes new materials that help improve student performance: "roadmaps" at the beginning of each chapter and "points to remember" at the end of each chapter.
In creating this book, the authors of The First Amendment sought to create a "teacher's book"—a book that is easy to use, that produces rewarding classroom discussion, and that enables students to learn the concepts, doctrines, and analytical tools that underlie the First Amendment. It is designed to help students understand First Amendment theory, lead students to greater insights, generate classroom interactivity, and facilitate effective and inspired learning. It accomplishes these objectives through the inclusion of problems.
The problems are designed to illustrate and clarify doctrinal principles and conflicts, place students in real-life litigation scenarios, help students view First Amendment issues in modern and historical context, and prepare students for actual practice. Some problems raise questions about ambiguous doctrines, while others ask students to apply existing doctrine to new situations. Most problems place students in the position of a lawyer and ask them to explain how they might argue a particular case (e.g., what facts or arguments they might use in support of their positions). The ultimate objective is to advance student ability to solve problems using critical thinking and thereby accelerate development of a core lawyering skill.
The seventh edition covers all of the recent relevant decisions, including Houston Community College System v. Wilson, Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, Inc., City of Austin, Texas v. Reagan National Advertising of Austin, LLC, Federal Election Commission v. Cruz, Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., Shurtleff v. City of Boston, Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrisey-Berru, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, and Carson v. Makin. It also includes a variety of new problems involving new situations that have arisen in First Amendment law.
Tradeoffs are necessary for any constitutional law casebook, and this book is no different. Although it includes the landmark cases, it does not attempt to catalog every decision (even every United States Supreme Court ruling) in each of the relevant areas. The authors have chosen cases for a variety of reasons: because they are modern cases that reflect the current state of the law; because they are "landmarks" that students need to read and understand; or because (even though they might be older cases) they provide critical context or enrich understanding and perspective.
The accompanying teacher's manual helps familiarize teachers with the subject matter, summarizes the cases, suggests doctrinal or theoretical approaches, offers options on how the book can best be used in class, and provides answers to the problems presented in the casebook.