Sam Houston State University Professor of political science John Domino’s newly-published textbook, “Civil Rights & Liberties in the 21st Century,” explores America’s competing legal philosophies with the opinions of court justices.
The book serves as a core text in political science courses on civil liberties, civil rights, constitutional law, law and society, and public policy, and has been adopted by universities from the nation. Domino also uses it in his own courses from time to time.
“My book analyzes the decisions of court matters ranging from political and artistic speech, to search and seizure, to sexual harassment, to homosexuality. It examines the role of the court in American society,” said Domino.
The material in the book provides historical contexts to help students better understand competing social, legal and political interests affecting the Supreme Court’s decision today, presenting an analysis of each case, as well as core arguments of the justices.
“Looking at the applicability of the book from an angle, our society has become deeply divided along ideological, religious, ethnic, and cultural lines,” Domino said. “These cultural divisions produce legal disputes, such as the role of religion in the public sphere or the rights of gays and lesbians, and they end up in the courts.
“So, one theme in my book is the role of the Supreme Court as a ‘cultural tribunal,’ playing a role in the so-called culture wars,” Domino said.
The text also explores the importance of people’s rights versus the government’s desire to restrict these rights.
“It was written in belief that understanding law is not having the right answers, but asking the right questions,” Domino said.
“The key to critical thinking in law is not just knowing what you have been told, but having the ability to ask questions. For example, why is there a right to privacy, and where is it found in the Bill of Rights?” he asked.
Domino has been teaching and researching at SHSU for two decades in the areas of constitutional law, civil rights and liberties, American political thought, court administration, American government, and public policy.
The first edition of his book was published in 1993. The second edition was published in August 2002, and the third edition was published in February 2009.
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Brian Domitrovic, assistant professor of history, appeared on Book TV (C-SPAN) May 1-2, speaking about his recent book "Econoclasts: The Rebels Sparked the Supply Side Revolution and Restored American Prosperity" (www.econoclasts.net).
Houston Chronicle education writer Jeannie Kever recently turned to Regents Professor of English Paul Ruffin for his views on university presses moving toward "digital books" as opposed to traditional ink-on-paper."We're fulfilling the ancient role of the university press, and that is to produce books," said Paul Ruffin, the Texas poet laureate for 2009 and director of the Texas Review Press at Sam Houston State University. "I don't want to give up the book because it is an art."
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