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The U.S. Constitution as Open Data? Not this Constitution Day.

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Constitution_of_the_United_States,_page_1By Daniel Schuman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Matt Rumsey Today is Constitution Day. On this date in 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention met to sign the document they created. We live in the world’s oldest continuous constitutional democracy, and our written constitution — as interpreted by the courts and fleshed out by Congress — governs us still. How has the Constitution been interpreted over the years? Congress charged its library with publishing an explanation of the document as it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court. This legal treatise, known as The Constitution of the United States, Analysis and Interpretation, or simply Constitution Annotated, is published as a full volume once a decade, with updates released every two years. The legal research behind the Constitution Annotated goes on continuously, and a website maintained inside Congress — available to staff only — is kept up-to-date in real time. We believe the public should have the benefit of these ongoing updates - and Congress’ Joint Committee on Printing agreed.

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