Trending: An App to Answer Your Questions about the Constitution

This is a guest post by Margaret M. Wood, legal reference librarian in the Law Library.

Two years ago, in honor of Constitution Day—celebrated annually on September 17—I wrote a post about the publication “Constitution of the United States: Analysis and Interpretation,” also referred to as the “Constitution Annotated.” Along with the U.S. Code, it is one of my favorite work resources.

Unfortunately, it is a behemoth of a work—it takes two hands to hold the volume, which weighs a good 10 pounds. Fortunately, the text is also available online through and through the U.S. Government Publishing Office, whose digital system includes both the most recent edition (2016) as well as historic editions back to 1992.

But given my penchant for bringing work topics into social situations, even the online version is not very practical. I cannot, very easily, fire up the computer during a conversation at a dinner or cocktail party. However, fortunately for me, there is an app for the “Constitution Annotated.” It debuted in 2013, when was still in beta, and has since been updated.

Using this app, I can just whip out my phone during a casual conversation with friends and provide them with information about our tripartite system of government or search for words and phrases that will help me win my argument. The app allows me to easily access sections of the “Constitution Annotated,” the historical note on the formation of the Constitution and the annotated amendments being particular favorites. It also allows me to search the document for a word or a phrase such as “we the people.” Alternatively, I can search for U.S. Supreme Court decisions governing the freedom of expression guaranteed in the First Amendment, such as New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, or cases on the Fifth Amendment’s “rights of person,” such as Miranda v. Arizona.

My colleague Andrew Weber provided two screen shots of the app below. Now you, too, can wow your friends!



  1. Bill Harvey
    September 18, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Soooooo, how do I get the app?


  2. Randy Ahn, PhD, MLIS
    September 18, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Great resource! Am looking forward to replicating your success in settling bets with friends.

  3. Patty
    September 18, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Does anyone know if they are planning an Android version? No Apple products in use in my household right now…

  4. Mike
    September 18, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I echo the question. Android?? only 79% of the market is Android while 15% is Apple.

  5. Kit
    September 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Bill Harvey- link to app are in the article

  6. Hana Godwin
    October 21, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    The website and app are really unusable and hard to read. Who can browse through a 3,000 page PDF on their phone?

    Is the Librarian planning on updating the CONAN website or app anytime soon? It’s so valuable but sadly few can use it.

  7. Wood, Brian E
    October 14, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Amendment 8, Excessive bail, Recently a warrant for a misdemeanor driving infraction was issued for my arrest. I went to the station and was issued a thousand dollar bond. I told the Norfolk Virginia Magistrate I don’t have money and I was sent to jail for several night s.

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.