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SELECTION OF CASES
EMLIN McCLAIN, A.M., LL.D.,
CHANCELLOR OF THE LAW DEPARTMENT OF THE STATE
By EMLIN McCLAIN.
THE object of this collection of cases is to furnish to the student the means of pursuing the study of constitutional law by the case method. The general outline of the plan of arrangement adopted by Judge Cooley in his “Principles of Constitutional Law'” is followed, and in subject-matter the two books correspond chapter by chapter and almost section by section, save that the first two chapters of Judge Cooley's work, which are general and historical, are represented in this collection by two chapters which contain cases relating to the general nature of the Federal Constitution and the relation of the States to the Federal government; while the scope of the third chapter is extended to cover some questions which it seems proper to bring together, although in the “Principles” they are treated later in connection with other subjects.
This collection of cases may therefore be used as the sole students' book on the subject, the teacher giving such historical matter as to the origin of constitutional principles and as to the adoption of the constitutional system as he deems necessary ; or it may be used to supplement Cooley’s “Principles” and enable the student to read a series of cases illustrative of the text of that work, and thus do more effectively the case reading which any teacher, using the text-book, would like to have his students do in connection with the study of the text. To make the use of this book as an independent work convenient and satisfactory, the Federal Constitution has been reprinted, and a table of contents, a table of cases, and a full index have been given.
It has not been easy to include those important cases which would be looked for in a collection of this kind and with which every student of this subject should become familiar, and at the
same time reasonably cover all the subject-matter which should come within the scope of a course of instruction. It has been necessary to bear in mind limitations inherent in the fact that only a certain amount of time can be given to the subject in any law-school course. Moreover, many of the important cases are very long, and to print them in full would require not only a large book, but a disproportionate amount of reading on the part of the student. Therefore, while there is a well-founded objection to the abridgment of cases, it has been thought expedient to recognize these limitations, and to put some of the cases into a shorter compass by the omission of the less material parts. In doing this, however, care has been taken not to destroy the essential features of the case or reduce it to a mere statement of abstract principles. The statements of facts have often been shortened by the elimination of matter not necessary to make plain the constitutional question involved; but sufficient facts have been preserved in each case to enable the student to understand clearly how the question arises from the facts, as well as enough of the opinion to enable him to follow the reasoning of the court with regard to the facts. In other words, the cases as here presented, even when abridged, have the characteristics of the decisions of courts in cases which have come before them, and are not the mere enunciation of general principles. All omissions of parts of the opinions are indicated by points, or by inserting explanatory matter in brackets. Where a connected line of decisions has been found on one particular question it has often been practicable either to give the early leading case, with short extracts from the later cases exemplifying and illustrating the doctrine, or a later case in which the reasoning of the earlier cases is fully set out; and when a case is thus fully enough stated in another opinion to render it intelligible to the student as a case, it has been included in the table of cases in parentheses, with a reference to the page on which it is thus cited. This will frequently enable one using the table of cases to reach the subject-matter of a leading case which he has in mind, even though that case may not be printed in full. The table of cases, however, does not purport to give all the cases cited, but only those which are so fully cited that the statement of them substantially serves as a reproduction of the case itself. In the matter of dissenting opinions there has been considerable difficulty in reaching a satisfactory conclusion; but in view of the necessary limits of time and space it has been thought that, on the whole, the reading of the prevailing opinions of the courts is a better exercise for the student than the reading of the dissenting opinions. And while the fact of dissent, if any, is preserved in each case, – and in many cases there is some short extract from the dissenting opinion showing the discrepancy between the reasoning of the majority and the minority of the court, — yet, in general, the opinions of the dissenting judges are not given. The ground covered by this collection is not restricted to the questions arising under the Federal Constitution, and many subjects are included which involve the usual provisions of State Constitutions as well, the plan of Judge Cooley's book being preserved in this respect as in others. But where opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States bear on the questions which arise under State Constitutions, those decisions have been preferred to the decisions of the State courts on the same questions.