Current Issues in


A Context and Practice


Sarah E. Ricks, Rutgers School of Law–Camden
Evelyn Tenenbaum, Albany Law School, Contributor
 View table of contents and forewords (PDF)


CASEBOOK | 2011 | ISBN 978-1-59460-427-0 | 766 PP


Current Issues in Constitutional Litigation focuses on the constitutional and statutory doctrines necessary to litigate 4th, 8th, and 14th Amendment claims, and 1st Amendment religion claims that arise in prison. Every chapter places students in roles as practitioners handling simulated law practice problems; provides a doctrinal overview; includes exercises, visual aids, and questions to guide student reading; and includes materials that help students reflect on their professional roles. In addition to Supreme Court decisions, materials include differing circuit court applications of doctrine, jury instructions, oral arguments, briefs, expert reports, and other practical documents. The text provides factual context by including background about the work of prison guards, police, and social workers.
The Teacher’s Manual includes banks of multiple-choice and essay questions and answers, plus teaching guides for exercises and law practice simulations. This casebook is designed to make it easier to implement the ideas in the Carnegie Foundation’s Educating Lawyers (2007) and Best Practices for Legal Education (2007) by integrating the teaching of doctrine and skills and using multiple methods of instruction.
This book is part of the Context and Practice Series, edited by Michael Hunter Schwartz, Washburn University School of Law.


"Professor Ricks has managed to accomplish in this textbook, with prose at once clearheaded and lyrical, in a format at once straightforward and complex, and with materials at once conventional and unexpected, the difficult and seemingly contradictory task of pointing the way to the future of the casebook while at the same time proving herself a true intellectual heir to Langdell's original vision of the case method."
Aderson Bellegarde François, Howard University School of Law

From the full book review available here What's Past is Prologue: A Review of Current Issues in Constitutional Litigation: A Context and Practice Casebook.

"This new casebook admirably fills a significant need .... Professor Ricks has authored a new and quite different casebook that provides far more than the usual cases, comments and questions. Professor Ricks has captured the multi-dimensional aspects of this field and has produced a casebook that will greatly enhance teaching, learning and practice of constitutional litigation."
David Rudovsky, Senior Fellow, University of Pennsylvania Law School

"Sarah Ricks has created an incredibly useful, contextually-based casebook that tells the story of constitutional litigation from many different perspectives. Students go behind the scenes and come to understand litigation from reading not only case law, but from examining briefs, oral arguments, pleadings, and expert opinions. For professors and students who want more from legal education than the unadorned case-method approach can provide, Professor Ricks has compiled a set of materials that brings the case law to life."
Karen Blum, Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School

"[This is] a master text book for an advanced class on constitutional law. This is not your grandmother's casebook.... [T]he focus is on practice - not law school theory. Unlike so many texts which just focus on Supreme Court cases, this case book includes cases from the lower courts as well as excerpts from briefs. The book includes simulations which involve realistic situations. The book actually helps students to learn to practice law and not just to read cases. "
Mitchell H. Rubenstein, Adjunct Professor, St. John’s (on Adjunct Law Prof Blog)


"This was a great class. It took a very practical approach. In addition to learning about civil rights law, we learned a lot about how the law works in practice, and also about different factors besides the law that attorneys and parties need to consider in lawsuits."

"Professor Ricks does a fantastic job of integrating the law with real world skills, and it’s clear that she’s invested in her students doing well not only in law school, but in their careers. The material was challenging, but Professor Ricks gave us many opportunities to work with cases on repeated occasions, and helped us see how everything hangs together. It was work, but it was fun."

"I thoroughly enjoyed reading jury instructions, appellate arguments, etc .... It gets mundane to have to read cases all of the time, and this provided a nice change of pace, and allowed me to get a deeper insight into why the opinion came out the way it did."

"I loved every minute of this course. Professor Ricks' text is perfectly designed to complement the class and is actually interesting to read."



SARAH E. RICKS, Clinical Professor at Rutgers School of Law–Camden, is a member of the American Law Institute. From 1995 to 2001, she was an appellate and legislative attorney for the City of Philadelphia and litigated many Section 1983 appeals. Ricks graduated from Yale Law School, where she co-founded the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, and clerked for the Hon. Thomas N. O’Neill, Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
EVELYN TENENBAUM, Professor at Albany Law School, is a graduate of Cornell Law School. She supervised Section 1983 civil rights litigation for many years in the New York State Attorney General’s Office. She contributed chapters on the 11th Amendment defense and on 1st Amendment religion claims that arise in prison.