Looking for the “Constitution Annotated” on Constitution Day


It’s been 225 years since the signing of the U.S. Constitution in September 1787, so the three years that have elapsed since we first asked the Library of Congress to publish the invaluable legal treatise Constitution Annotated online in a machine-readable format are little more than 1.3% of the age of our country. And the 670 days (i.e. 1 year and 10 months) that have flown by since Congress directed the Constitution Annotated be published online as it is updated, along with two other “vital legislative and legal documents,” are but a brief flicker in geological terms. But in political terms, another congressional session is about to pass without the Library of Congress and GPO making good on their obligation to provide this important document to the American people.

I’ve run out of clever ways to say this, especially with so many others saying the same thing, but here goes. The Constitution Annotated is an important legal treatise that provides an easily understandable exploration of how Supreme Court decisions interpret the U.S. Constitution. It’s already published on Congress’ internal website as it is updated, and it should be published online in the same way. At a minimum, the Library and GPO should meet their obligation to do as Congress directed: publish these documents online “as quickly as possible.” An informed public is the cornerstone of our democracy, and they should have this information readily available to them.