The Constitution Annotated Provides a Historical Record and Current Analysis
In celebration of Constitution Day, the Library of Congress is launching a new website – constitution.congress.gov – for the Constitution Annotated, the authoritative source for how the Supreme Court has interpreted the nation’s governing document over the years.
With advanced search tools and a modern user-friendly interface, the new website makes the 3,000 pages of the Constitution Annotated fully searchable and accessible for the first time to online audiences – including Congress, legal scholars, law students and anyone interested in U.S. constitutional law.
“To be successful, collections must be used. That’s why I’m excited about the Constitution Annotated getting a new website. It’s a great example of what we mean when we say we’re putting our users first,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “We’ve taken some of the most comprehensive analysis of our Constitution – the laws that make America what it is – and we’re making them easier for everyone to use.”
For over a century, the Constitution Annotated – known officially as the “Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation” – has served as the official record of the U.S. Constitution. Prepared by attorneys in the American Law Division of the Library’s Congressional Research Service, it explains in layman’s terms the Constitution’s origins, how it was crafted and how every provision in the Constitution has been interpreted throughout history.
Congress has directed the Librarian of Congress to compile and periodically update the Constitution Annotated to provide essential information to lawmakers and the public. A bound edition of the Constitution Annotated is published every 10 years, with cumulative updates printed as a supplement insert every two years. Published copies are available to every member of Congress and shipped to every depository library in the United States. A PDF document, with limited searchability, has also been available on the Library’s website for several years.
With this new, modern online home for the Constitution Annotated, the Library’s Congressional Research Service and Law Library of Congress will be able to apprise Congress and the public of new legal developments more quickly and provide links to related information for the study of the Constitution.
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