by Dru Tigner, 1L
CALI: Computer Assisted Learning Instruction
The CALI lessons are pure gold and should be done for all classes. There are a broad range of con law subjects covered in the lessons. Each lesson takes you by the hand and walks you through each subject. There are forced knowledge checks in the middle of the lessons to ensure that you are following along and not just clicking through. Most importantly they offer hypos for you to write out and compare to a model answer written by law professors. CALI is a great exam prep tool, and you would be doing yourself a disservice by not checking it out.
Constitutional Law Lectures on CD
John C. Jeffries, Jr.
KF4550 .A1 J44 2005 AUDIO
Law School Legends Series
The audio CDs in general are a great thing to have. They are wonderful for multi-tasking and for people who need both an aural explanation as well as a visual one for learning material. The con. law version of the CDs are really good. They take a broad sweep of the topic, but do so in an easy to understand way. If you listen to all four hours of this CD collection, you will certainly have a solid foundational knowledge going in to your exams. You definitely can’t use the CDs to replace your lectures, but if you already have a basic understanding of con. law and are looking to really get a full grasp of the subject, these CDs will be great for you. I highly recommend them.
Mastering Constitutional Law (4th ed.)
John C. Knechtle and Christopher J. Roederer
KF4550 .K542 2009
This is one dense book, and covers everything you will cover in your con. law class and more. This feels, however, more like a Hornbook then a quick reference supplement. It is written in relatively plain language and is well organized, so if you are looking for something to really sink your teeth in, this is a good option for you.
Constitutional Law: National Power and Federalism (5th ed.)
Christopher N. May
KF4550 .M29 2010
Examples and Explanations Series
The entire E&E series is generally helpful, but the con. law one is probably the least helpful I’ve come across. Not to say that it isn’t still very good, it’s just not as good as the other subjects in the series. It covers a lot of material that my class is not covering, and it does not cover the subjects we do as extensively as I like. It is not bad, and the material it does address it does so well, but it just isn’t overly relevant for the material we are covering. Mostly use it for the hypos and move on.
Understanding Constitutional Law (4th ed.)
Norman Redlich, John Attanasio, and Joel K. Goldstein
KF4550 .R43 2005
This book is great for getting a foundational basis to build on in your constitutional law class. It gives you the material in an easy to digest format with clear sign posts and a rational organization. It covers a broad range of topics and does so with enough depth to get you by in any class, but not too deep to overwhelm you. It’s not something you really want to use for outlining or pretest cramming, but it does live up to its name and helps to facilitate understanding.
Constitutional Law in a Nutshell (7th ed.)
Jerome A. Barron
KF4550 .Z9 B35 2009
Generally speaking, I love the Nutshell series. I don’t know if it is the irresistibly adorable small size or the clear and brief explanations of the topics, but I find myself drawn to them overall. The con. law Nutshell doesn’t disappoint. It is small, succinct, and informative. It gives you just enough information without overwhelming you. It also includes lots of cases scattered throughout its explanation, which is great for synthesizing your cases with the black letter law. Great little book.
Constitutional Law (30th ed.)
Jesse H. Choper
KF4550 .Z9 C56 2008
Gilbert Law Summaries
The Gilbert is a great tool for constitutional law. It is keyed to most of the con. law books (including mine — Sullivan), so you know exactly what sections of the book are relevant to your class. It presents the material in very detailed outlined format, and hits most of the cases we study and seamlessly integrates the cases into the black letter law — much the same way I imagine a professor would want on an exam. I think it is a great tool to bolster an outline or to supplement course reading. You cannot, however, just read the Gilbert and have a full understanding of the material.
The Glannon Guide to Constitutional Law: Governmental Structure and Powers (2nd ed.)
Brannon P. Denning
KF4550 .Z9 D45 2010
Glannon Guide Series
The Glannon series is generally my favorite study guide series. It hits somewhere in between the Gilbert and the Understanding series as far as density level. It can be helpful for fleshing out your outline, but you have to work to extract the information a little bit. It is great for facilitating clarity. It gives you the information in plane language, and helps you to digest the material with multiple choice questions at the end of each section. Generally speaking, the gilbert is gold. This guide, however, I think is a little sparse. It covers only a few basic topics, and leaves out any information about individual rights. Overall, this is a good book to get a grasp on the foundations of con. law, but you will almost certainly need something else to get a full picture of the subject.
Constitutional Law (10th ed.)
KF4550 .Z9 E523 2011
This is a great quick guide to con law, and is very appropriate for exam crunch time — hence the name. I actually really like the flow chart in the front of this book. The chart is sort of a one stop shop for everything con. law and hypos. It’ll walk you through almost every scenario you can think of and what to do when you encounter it. Very helpful for navigating all the different con. law standards and tests. The actual text of the book is good. It is very succinct and tells you everything you need to know in very short, easy to digest summary outlines, so It is great for nailing down concept definitions and topping off your outline. Not good for facilitating understanding if you don’t already have a foundation though.
Inside Constitutional Law: What Matters and Why
Russell L. Weaver
KF4550 .Z9 I545 2009
Inside Law Series
I really like the layout of this book. It is dense, but breaks up the page with text boxes and pictures, which is a much-welcomed break from our less then visually stimulating case books. I really like the chapter outlines before each chapter. I find that they are helpful for structuring your power outline. Also, it covers a broad array of topics, including individual rights, and it does so at a relatively low reading level. All in all I would say it was a good choice.
Questions & Answers: Constitutional Law (2nd ed.)
Paul E. McGreal
KF4550 .Z9 M4 2007
Questions and Answers Series
The con. law Q&A is really wonderful. It is a book entirely made up of multiple choice questions and answers. The questions range from the very basics in constitutional law to much more advanced concepts. It is perfect for quizzing yourself for understanding of black letter law concepts. It won’t help you right a great exam, but it will help you understand the material you are writing about. I definitely recommend it.