American Constitutional Law: The Structure of Government by Ralph A. Rossum and G. Alan TarrAmerican Constitutional Law provides a comprehensive account of the nations defining document. Based on the premise that the study of the Constitution and constitutional law is of fundamental importance to understanding the principles, prospects, and problems of America, this text puts current events in terms of what those who initially drafted and ratified the Constitution sought to accomplish.
Publication Date: 2014
The Annotated U. S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence by Jack N. RakoveHere in a beautifully bound cloth gift edition are the two founding documents of the United States of America: the Declaration of Independence (1776), our great revolutionary manifesto, and the Constitution (1787-88), in which "We the People" forged a new nation and built the framework for our federal republic. Together with the Bill of Rights and the Civil War amendments, these documents constitute what James Madison called our "political scriptures," and have come to define us as a people. Now a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian serves as a guide to these texts, providing historical contexts and offering interpretive commentary.
Publication Date: 2009-11-30
The Citizen's Constitution : An Annotated Guide by Seth Lipsky (Commentaries by)Pocket versions of the Constitution of the United States of America abound, as do multi-volume commentaries, scholarly histories of its writing, and political posturings of various clauses. But what if you want a delightfully quick, witty, and readable reference that, in one compact volume, places the document and its clauses into context? You’re out of luck—until now. Written by Seth Lipsky, described in the Boston Globe as “a legendary figure in contemporary journalism,” The Citizen’s Constitution draws on the writings of the Founders, case law from our greatest judges, and current events in more than 300 illuminating annotations. Lipsky provides a no-nonsense, entertaining, and learned guide to the fundamental questions surrounding the document that governs how we govern our country. Every American should know the Constitution. Rarely has it glinted so brightly.
Publication Date: 2009-10-27
A Constitution for All Times by Pamela Karlan
Call Number: KF4550.K37 2013
Publication Date: 2013-11-08
Constitutional Originalism by Robert W. Bennett; Lawrence B. SolumProblems of constitutional interpretation have many faces, but much of the contemporary discussion has focused on what has come to be called "originalism." The core of originalism is the belief that fidelity to the original understanding of the Constitution should constrain contemporary judges. As originalist thinking has evolved, it has become clear that there is a family of originalist theories, some emphasizing the intent of the framers, while others focus on the original public meaning of the constitutional text. This idea has enjoyed a modern resurgence, in good part in reaction to the assumption of more sweeping power by the judiciary, operating in the name of constitutional interpretation. Those arguing for a "living Constitution" that keeps up with a changing world and changing values have resisted originalism. This difference in legal philosophy and jurisprudence has, since the 1970s, spilled over into party politics and the partisan wrangling over court appointments from appellate courts to the Supreme Court. In Constitutional Originalism, Robert W. Bennett and Lawrence B. Solum elucidate the two sides of this debate and mediate between them in order to separate differences that are real from those that are only apparent. In a thorough exploration of the range of contemporary views on originalism, the authors articulate and defend sharply contrasting positions. Solum brings learning from the philosophy of language to his argument in favor of originalism, and Bennett highlights interpretational problems in the dispute-resolution context, describing instances in which a living Constitution is a more feasible and productive position. The book explores those contrasting positions, to be sure, but also uncovers important points of agreement for the interpretational enterprise. This provocative and absorbing book ends with a bibliographic essay that points to landmark works in the field and helps lay readers and students orient themselves within the literature of the debate.
Publication Date: 2011-06-06
The Law of the Land : A Grand Tour of Our Constitutional Republic by Akhil Reed AmarFrom Kennebunkport to Kauai, from the Rio Grande to the Northern Rockies, ours is a vast republic. While we may be united under one Constitution, separate and distinct states remain, each with its own constitution and culture. Geographic idiosyncrasies add more than just local character. Regional understandings of law and justice have shaped and reshaped our nation throughout history. America’s Constitution, our founding and unifying document, looks slightly different in California than it does in Kansas. In The Law of the Land, renowned legal scholar Akhil Reed Amar illustrates how geography, federalism, and regionalism have influenced some of the biggest questions in American constitutional law. Writing about Illinois, the land of Lincoln,” Amar shows how our sixteenth president’s ideas about secession were influenced by his Midwestern upbringing and outlook. All of today’s Supreme Court justices, Amar notes, learned their law in the Northeast, and New Yorkers of various sorts dominate the judiciary as never before. The curious Bush v. Gore decision, Amar insists, must be assessed with careful attention to Florida law and the Florida Constitution. The second amendment appears in a particularly interesting light, he argues, when viewed from the perspective of Rocky Mountain cowboys and cowgirls. Propelled by Amar’s distinctively smart, lucid, and engaging prose, these essays allow general readers to see the historical roots of, and contemporary solutions to, many important constitutional questions. The Law of the Land illuminates our nation’s history and politics, and shows how America’s various local parts fit together to form a grand federal framework.
Our Constitution : Landmark Interpretations of America's Governing Document by Michael Paulsen (Editor); Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies Staff (Created by)Our Constitution is a straightforward and objective volume setting forth the text of the Constitution of the United States and the most important interpretations of that document by the U.S. Supreme Court and by other actors in our constitutional system. It focuses on the most important interpretations of the Constitution -- those that have shaped our understandings of the Constitution and been of greatest historical consequence and enduring significance for the nation. The emphasis is on what has proven to be foundational, historic, or enduring, not on right and wrong. This is not a work of commentary. It leaves entirely to the reader the task of evaluating the merits of the interpretations. The cases and other documents are presented here, unadorned -- and uncorrupted -- by critical commentary. They are edited into as concise a form as possible, to make them accessible to general readers interested in AmericaÆs Constitution.
ConSource: The Constitutional Sources ProjectThe Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) seeks to revolutionize how people experience history by "democratizing access" to the source materials of the U.S. Constitution, such as related letters, journals, newspapers, articles, and speeches. Readers may like to begin by perusing the Blog, which presents newly uploaded materials and accessible scholarly writings by ConSource staff. From there, the Documents section is well worth a visit. Here readers will find links to the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, constitutional convention records, and other primary documents that have been central to American history and culture. The Constitutional Index, meanwhile, sorts the U.S. Constitution by section, amendment, and clause, making for an organized and educational read.
DocsTeach: Amending AmericaThrough the Bill of Rights and rest of our 27 amendments, we have changed our Constitution to protect rights, expand participation and refine government powers. The materials on this page highlight the amendment process and struggles for rights throughout U.S. history.
Interactive ConstitutionOn this site, constitutional experts interact with each other to explore the Constitution’s history and what it means today. For each provision of the Constitution, scholars of different perspectives discuss what they agree upon, and what they disagree about. These experts were selected with the guidance of leaders of two prominent constitutional law organizations—The American Constitution Society and The Federalist Society. This project is sponsored by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
National Constitution CenterEducators looking to celebrate Constitution Day on September 17 in their classrooms (or other important dates in American history) should be sure to check out the array of educational resources provided by the National Constitution Center. Here, visitors will find a large collection of resources with options for a variety of age groups. Students and general audiences alike have several interactive features to explore. In addition to the Interactive Constitution (featured in the 10-10-2014 Scout Report), other interactives focus on topics like how the Bill of Rights was written, how the rights laid out in the US Constitution compare to those established in other countries around the world, and digitized early drafts of the Constitution as it was being developed. Other notable features include numerous lesson plans for K-12 classrooms as well as fun craft activities that would be appropriate for both classrooms and families. These resources, as well as the many others available here, can be searched by fields such as keyword, subject, grade level, and educational standards. Located in Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center has been educating visitors about the US Constitution online since 1998 and in person since 2003.
Timeline of the United States’ Constitutional LawLaunched by Oxford Constitutional Law, this Timeline of the United States' Constitutional Law provides an overview of legal history from the Magna Carta to the present day. The interactive timeline invites users to scroll through centuries of history, delving into landmark cases and major moments from the past. Some of these events will likely refresh your prior knowledge, but other events are less well-known (e.g. the dates of each state's constitutional ratification). The included case law highlights monumental legal decisions (such as Brown v. Board of Education, which declared school segregation unconstitutional, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which "ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,"). In addition to the picture and caption provided for each event, many slides embed links to other Oxford Reference documents that provide further information. Readers should note that access to some of the embedded Oxford articles and tools requires a subscription. However, many of the documents have abstracts available to non-subscribers. [EMB]
Key Constitutional Concepts by PJ ProductionsThese three 20- minute videos examine key constitutional concepts. The first explains why the nation's framers created the Constitution. The second describes the protection of individual rights by highlighting the Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright, affirming the right to an attorney. The last explores the separation of powers by examining the Supreme Court case of Youngstown v. Sawyer, a challenge to President Truman's decision to take over steel mills during the Korean War.
Call Number: DVD KF4550.A1K49 2006
Publication Date: 2006
Our Constitution: A Conversation by Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen G. BreyerU.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen G. Breyer spoke with several Philadelphia area high school students in June 2005 in Washington, D.C. The students and justices discussed the significance of the judiciary and the ways that independence is protected by the Constitution.
Call Number: DVD KF4550.A1O87 2005
Publication Date: 2005
Themes from the 1787 Constitutional Convention. (2 parts) by Bill Moyers
Call Number: DVD KF4510.A133 1987
Publication Date: 1987
Amending the ConstitutionThis program is an indispensable tool for helping students to understand the constitutional amendment process and to see its importance in their own lives. It defines what an amendment is, explains why amendments have been needed down through the centuries, and describes the process for proposing and ratifying an amendment. Amendments used as illustrations of the process of changing the Constitution have been carefully selected for their interest value to today’s students. A viewable/printable instructor’s guide is available online. Correlates to National Standards for United States History Education. A Cambridge Educational Production. (18 minutes)
The Birth of the ConstitutionRon Granieri explores the development of the U.S. Constitution, and how it differs from the original governing document of the U.S.—the Articles of Confederation.
Call a Convention to Amend the Constitution: A DebateSince the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1788, it has been amended 27 times, always by the same method outlined in Article V of the document: by winning approval of two-thirds of each chamber of Congress and three-fourths of the states. But Article V allows for another method to revise the Constitution that bypasses Congress: by winning approval of two-thirds of state legislatures to call a convention and approve amendments, and then gaining the support of three-fourths of the states. Some argue that this alternative method would overcome congressional gridlock and restore power to the people. But others argue that it could unleash chaos and extremism that might undermine the republic. Should the states call a convention to amend the Constitution?
The Constitution and Foundations of GovernmentWhy do written documents figure so prominently in the early history of the United States? There are plenty of explanations, but they all boil down to the philosophical ideas that drove the American colonies to declare their independence—and a profound awareness that those ideas should be inseparable from the rule of law. This program explores the origins, outbreak, and outcome of the American Revolution, the major political texts which grew out of that struggle, and their ongoing significance today. Topics include the heavy British taxation that helped spark the Revolution; the spirit and structure of the Declaration of Independence; the short-lived Articles of Confederation; the drafting and ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; and their implications for U.S. government as we know it today. A viewable/printable instructor’s guide is available online. A Films for the Humanities & Sciences Production. A part of the series U.S. Government: How It Works. (26 minutes)
The U.S. ConstitutionThe Almost Painless Guide to the U.S. Constitution uses contemporary video footage, archival video footage and photographs, original graphics, and dialog narration to provide students in grades five and up with information on the U.S. Constitution. The program examines the inception of the Constitution as it succeeded the Articles of Confederation. It discusses the importance of the Constitution as the foundation of a federal system of government and the concept of “We the People” as the ultimate authority. The articles of the Constitution that defined the three branches of government are discussed, as is the concept of “checks and balances.” The Preamble is explored in depth, as are the first ten amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments to the Constitution. The program concludes with “The Almost Painless Review,” which offers an excellent synopsis of the entire program. Also, a Video Quiz is provided prior to the closing credits in order to help you assess student comprehension immediately following the video presentation.