Stephen Shapiro


This essay originally started out as a review of Charles Abernathy's casebook, <em>Civil Rights and Constitutional Litigation</em>, which the author was using to teach his "Civil Rights Litigation" course at the University of Baltimore. Since at some point in his career the author has used three of the four major casebooks available to law faculty teaching Civil Rights (the Abernathy casebook, Eisenberg's <em>Civil Rights Legislation</em>, and Low and Jeffries's <em>Civil Rights Actions</em>), he decided to extend this review to all four books. All four are quite good, including the newest, Nahmod, Wells & Eaton's <em>Constitutional Torts</em>. They all differ, however, in coverage and focus, and these differences might lead a professor to choose one or the other, depending on the type of Civil Rights course one wants to teach. The author hopes that this essay may prove helpful to someone choosing a casebook for such a course. This review will first discuss the nature of the Civil Rights course, as the author teaches it and as he believes it is taught at many law schools. Next, this review will compare the general suitability of each of the four texts for various kinds of Civil Rights courses. It then discusses the Abernathy book, examining both its strengths and weaknesses. Finally, the review will describe the advantages offered by each of the other three texts.