Freedom and the Court

Civil Rights and Liberties in the United States


Henry J. Abraham and Barbara A. Perry

Since its original publication in 1967, Freedom and the Court has become the standard text on civil liberties law, with more than 100,000 copies in print. This classic is now updated to cover Supreme Court decisions through 2003 and address essential questions of how to reconcile civil liberties—especially personal privacy—with national security in the aftermath of 9/11.

Henry J. Abraham and Barbara A. Perry continue to portray the intriguing human stories behind landmark constitutional law cases as they focus on fundamental issues of individual rights relating to freedom of religion, separation of church and state, freedom of expression, due process, and political, racial, and gender equality. This eighth edition of Freedom and the Court delineates recent pathbreaking developments by the Rehnquist Court in civil rights regarding abortion, affirmative action, capital punishment, computers and the Internet, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also analyzes the narrowly divided Court's controversial return to a more state-centered jurisprudence and to certain pre-New Deal, pro-business commitments.

“Provides an in depth and comprehensive historical account of the Court’s role in the ongoing saga of Americans’ civil liberties and rights.

—The Law and Politics Book Review

Freedom and the Court, with its personal stories behind the landmark cases, has long been a foundational, scholarly (but not technical) work for those interested in the Supreme Court’s treatment of individual rights relating to freedom of religion (and separation of church and state), freedom of expression, the workings of due process of law (particularly with criminal procedures), and political, racial and gender equality. This latest edition, the eighth, is obviously back by popular demand.

—Los Angeles Times
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The book's coverage ranges widely to consider criminal rights in light of the 1990s war on crime, free speech cases involving everything from campaign finance to nude dancing, and equal protection pertaining not only to minority litigation but also to the Bush v. Gore decision—whose first oral argument (for the Palm Beach County case) the authors attended at the U.S. Supreme Court. It also explains the ongoing impact of the Court's invalidation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and it continues to include comprehensive charts for cases involving freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and gender that are unmatched by any other book.

Impeccably researched and enormously readable, Freedom and the Court remains the basic work in the field and is indispensable to the teaching of civil liberties. As the Supreme Court is called upon to act as the nation's constitutional conscience in deciding pressing conflicts regarding terrorism and liberty, it is an essential text and reference for all who would better understand its decisions.