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Reason in Law

Ninth Edition

Ninth Edition

Over the nearly four decades it has been in print, Reason in Law has established itself as the place to start for understanding legal reasoning, a critical component of the rule of law. This ninth edition brings the book’s analyses and examples up to date, adding new cases while retaining old ones whose lessons remain potent. It examines several recent controversial Supreme Court decisions, including rulings on the constitutionality and proper interpretation of the Affordable Care Act and Justice Scalia’s powerful dissent in Maryland v. King. Also new to this edition are cases on same-sex marriage, the Voting Rights Act, and the legalization of marijuana. A new appendix explains the historical evolution of legal reasoning and the rule of law in civic life. The result is an indispensable introduction to the workings of the law. 

Read the first chapter.

288 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2016

Law and Legal Studies: Law and Society

Political Science: American Government and Politics


Reason in Law is a superbly written, pedagogically rich, historically and conceptually informed introduction to legal reasoning. . . . The student becomes aware through analyses of illustrative cases that legal reasoning requires judges and lawyers to analyze the facts in a case in light of legal rules, precedents, wider social reality, and normative values which are brought to the specific case. . . . . Rigorous and complex in its discussion of concepts, . . . this may well be the very best introductory text.”

Law and Politics Book Review

Table of Contents

Foreword by Sanford Levinson


Chapter 1: What Legal Reasoning Is and Why It Matters
Chapter 2: Change and Stability in Legal Reasoning
Chapter 3: Common Law
Chapter 4: Statutory Interpretation
Chapter 5: Interpreting the U.S. Constitution
Chapter 6: Law and Politics

Appendix A: Introduction to Legal Procedures and Terminology
Appendix B: A Theory of Law in Politics: The Case of Terri Schiavo


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