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Celebrate the 230th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights with the Constitution Annotated

This is a guest post by Jeanne Dennis, senior counsel for legal programs and initiatives in the American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service.

Yesterday, December 15, was Bill of Rights Day. Celebrate the 230th anniversary of the Bill of Rights this week by exploring the online Constitution Annotated. Launched in September 2019, the online Constitution Annotated is the digital home of the Constitution of the United States of America, Analysis and Interpretation, a Senate document that has served as the Constitution of record for Congress for over 100 years. The Constitution Annotated explains how the Supreme Court has interpreted every provision of the U.S. Constitution throughout the nation’s history and details how these interpretations have evolved into today’s governing doctrines.

Homepage of the Constitution Annotated website, www.constitution.congress.gov.

Prepared to assist Congress in performing its legislative and oversight functions and written by attorneys in the American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Constitution Annotated is objective, authoritative, timely, and non-partisan.

The Constitution Annotated is an excellent resource not only for members of Congress and their staff but also for students, teachers, legal professionals, and anyone who is interested in the Constitution and how the Supreme Court has interpreted it. With an organization that mirrors the Constitution, the online Constitution Annotated has advanced search features and a browse function, which enables users to locate information on the Constitution easily. To assist legal professionals, teachers, and students, the online Constitution Annotated includes hyperlinks to Supreme Court decisions, providing users opportunities to gain greater insight into Supreme Court rulings. Through tables that identify Supreme Court decisions that the Supreme Court subsequently overruled, federal and state laws that the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court justices, the Constitution Annotated provides additional information to users in a concise format.

The online Constitution Annotated also provides other essential resources on the Constitution. It features articles on constitutional developments written by CRS attorneys. These include the Congressional Court Watcher, a weekly publication that covers recent appellate decisions of interest to lawmakers; in-depth reports on issues of constitutional import; and legal analyses of recent Supreme Court decisions. The online Constitution Annotated is also a gateway to the Library of Congress’s extensive online collections of legal resources on the Constitution. These online materials include documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774 to 1789; materials relating to the creation of the Bill of Rights; the Federalist Papers; and the Library’s U.S. Reports collection. The wealth of information available on the online Constitution Annotated makes it a great first stop for researchers on the Constitution.

Since the online Constitution Annotated launch two years ago, it has explained America’s foundational law to millions of people from across the nation and around the world. Please join them by exploring the online Constitution Annotated and sharing it with your friends.

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