The United States Constitution and What It Means Today
Fall, 2016

I. Historical Background
   British Colonization
   The Formation of a Colonial People
   The British Constitution

II. The Writing and Ratification of the Constitution
     Colonial Charters and Constitutions
     The Rebellion and the Articles of Confederation
     The Constitutional Convention of 1787
     A Republic Evolving Toward a Democracy

III. Reading and Interpreting the Constitution
      How to Read a Text
      Originalism versus "A Living Constitution"
      The Powers of the Federal Judiciary

IV. Amending the text of the Constitution
      Article V and Its Subtleties
      The Evolving Constitutional Text
      What the Text Says and Doesn't Say
V. Separation of Powers
      The Legislative Branch
      The Executive Branch
      The Judicial Branch and Judicial Review

VI. Federalism
     The Theory of Delegated Powers
     Articles IX and X of the Bill of Rights
     The Genius of Federalism

Tribe on the Constitution

The United States Constitution
The United States Constitution Annotated --from
The United States Constitution --from

The Federalist Papers --from the University of Oklahoma College of Law

The Avalon Project - Major Document Collections
Federalist Number 10

A Chronoogy of United States Historical Documents --from the University of Oklahoma College of Law

The Articles of Confederation --from the Library of Congress

The Articles of Confederation --from the Avalon Project

The Debates Over Ratification of the Constitution (Elliot's Debates)
Major Debates of the Constitutional Convention --from the Constitutional Rights Foundation

Resolution of the Federal Convention Submitting the Constitution to Congress --September 17, 1787 - From the Avalon Project

Washington's Letter Transmitting the Constitution to the Congress, September 17, 1787 --from

Letter Transmitting the Constitution to the Congress of the Articles --September 17, 1787 - From the Avalon Project

Resolution of Congress of September 28, 1787, Submitting the Constitution to the Several States --from the Avalon Project

Resolution of the Congress of September 13, 1788 --from the Library of Congress

Resolution of the Congress, of September 13, 1788, Fixing Date for Election of a President, and the Organization of the Government Under the Constitution, in the City of New York --from the Avalon Projecct

Ratification Dates and Votes --from

Ratification of the Constitution - Amendments Proposed --from
Failed Amendments --from

27th Amendment Or Bust - The Story Behind the 27th Amendment --from
"How a C-grade College Term Paper Led to a Constitutional Amendment" --from
Richard Bernstein, "The Sleeper Wakes: The History and Legacy of the Twenty-Seventh Amendment" --from Fordham Law Review

George Ticknor Curtis, History of the Origin, Formation, and Adoption of the Constitution
of the United States  --from Project Guttenberg --from Project Guttenberg 

Akhil Reed Amar, America's Constitution: A Biography --from Google Books

The National Constitution Center --Constitutional news

Thomas Jeffereson on Constitutional Interpretation --based on his writings
Theories of Constitutional Interpretation
Doug Linder,
Exploring Constitutional Law --from the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The Originalist Perspective --from the Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Guide to the Constitution

Doug Hays, "
Scalia Used Originalism to Cover Activism," --from the Las Cruces Sun-News, March 1, 2016

Jedediah Purdy,
"Scalia's Contradictory Originalism" --from The New Yorker, February 16, 2016

The Constitution (We The People) --from
The Amendments in History --from

Presidential Signing Statements --from the University of San Diego - The American Presidency Project

Taking aim at U.S. Constitution; Conservative groups see convention of states as a way to sidestep Congress
 --from the International New York Times, August 24, 2016

Friend of an Article V Convention, Index of Article V Applications, July 24, 2016

American Legislative Exchange Council - Proposal for a Convention of States
Article V Handbook --from the American Legislative Exchange Council

Official Proposals of the Simulated Convention of States - Adopted September 23, 2016 in Williamsburg, VA
Tiny Url

ALEC Exposed --from

The Convention of States - September, 2016 - Williamsburg, VA --from
Thomas H. Neale, "The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments: Contemporary Issues for Congress"  --from
the Congressional Research Service, March 29, 2016

Enlarging the Size of the House of Representatives --from The New York Times, January 7, 2014

Constitution Day --from

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, "Upholding the Promise of America on this Constitution Day" - September 17, 2016 --from the

Hillary's New Constitution --from the Wall Street Journal

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the United States --Official website 

Landmark Cases --from C-SPAN

The Supreme Court Blog - SCOTUS

Oyez --Oral arguments before the Supreme Court

Unratified Constitutional Amendments and
Analysis of the Unratified Amendments

Editorial - Baton Rouge Morning Advocate  - October  , 2010 and
Response to the Editorial

Justices Bryer and Scalia Debate Constitutional Interpretation - November 12, 2010

Federal laws Held Unconstitutional in Whole or in Part by the United States Supreme Court --from

State Laws Held Unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court  --from

Justices of the United States Supreme Court - Nominations - [from U.S. Senate]

Jill Lepore, "The Commandments:The Constitution and Its Worshippers," The New Yorker, 
January 17, 2001.

Pauline Maier, Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 (Simon and
Schuster, 2010 [Available online through chapter 5.] 

Wickard v. Filburn (1942) - Explaining Congress' Power to Regulate Commerce
 --Summary of the Court's Ruling

United States v. Lopez (1995) - Explaining Limits on Congress' Commerce Power
 --Summary of the Court's Ruling

Citizens United v. FEC (2009) - The Court Rules in Favor of Corporate Free Speech  
 --Long Summary of the Court's Ruling

Constitutional Evolution Today (Well, Yesterday) - Statutory Interpretation and Constitutional
Developments - PBS Evening News -February 22, 2011

The Obama Administration's Letter to Congress Declaring that the Administration
Will Not Defend the Defense of Marriage Act - February 23, 2011

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation - U.S. Congressional Documents and
Debates, 1774-1875

Nina Totenberg Interview With Ted Olson - NPR - Audio - December 6, 2010 

Discussion of Adam Cohen's book on Buck v. Bell - NPR - All Things Considered, February 26, 2016

The Supreme Court --PBS Program (Videos)

"More Perfect: The Imperfect Plaintiffs" --from (This deals with Fisher v. The University of Texas (1915).)

Judge Richard Posner, "The Academy is Out of Its Depth " --from - July 26, 2016
"Posner Apologizes For Saying That the Constitution is Useless" --July 1, 2016

Eric J. Segall, "The Constitution Means What the Supreme Court Says It Mean" --from the Harvard Law Review Forum, February, 2016

Thomas H. Neale, "The Electoral College: How It Works in Contemporary Presidential Elections," --from the Congressional
Research Service - April 13, 2016

"Americans Divided on How the Spreme Court Should Interpret the Constitution" --from the PEW Research Center. July 31, 2014

Akil Reed Amar, "Turning to the Constitution to Confront the Issues of Our Time," --from the Dianne Rehm Show, September 13,

Louis Michael Seidman, "Let's Give Up on the Constitution" --from the New York Times, December 30, 2012

Peter Nicholas, "'Nine, Of Course'":  A Dialogue on Congressional Power to Set by Statute the Number of Justices on the Supreme Court" --from the NYU Journal of Law and Liberty (2006)

"Are Members of Congress Becoming Telemarketers?" --from CBS 60 Minutes, April 24, 2016
[Text only - Video Requires Subscription]

Constitutional Miscellany
50 Years of Elecral College Maps: How the U.S. Turned Red and Blue --from The New York Times, August 22, 2016
PDF version

Presidential Elections - from the Scout Report