Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law in the United States

The aspect of public law that deals with the organic or fundamental law of a political system. Constitutional law addresses itself to the basic organizational framework of the government and the authority of those occupying governmental positions. Constitutional law sets forth in a general way the manner in which public matters are to be administered. This usually includes the statement of basic principles which will govern the relationship between the government and individual citizens. In the United States, there is a national constitution as well as a constitution for each of the 50 states. Constitutions usually take the form of written documents, but the fundamental law of a political system may be unwritten, as in Great Britain. The U.S. Constitution and those of the states are all set forth in writing. Constitutions are very general, and require regular interpretation. Constitutional law not only includes the provisions of a document but also the thousands of court decisions rendered over the years that contain interpretative rulings. The rulings have the same force as the words of the document. (1)

Analysis and Relevance

Constitutional law is the highest form of law and all other laws and governmental actions must conform to it. It not only defines the power of a government but also the limits placed upon that government. Constitutions are either general or specific, long and involved or very brief. Many issues are addressed through application of the general provisions. Final authority on the meaning of the U.S. Constitution resides with the U.S. Supreme Court. The highest state court performs a similar role with state constitutions. Under provisions of the Supreme Clause of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, no provision of state law (even state constitutional provisions) may conflict with the national constitution. Neither may legislative enactments known as statutes conflict with constitutional provisions. Courts safeguard the integrity of constitutions from improper legislative or executive action through the use of the power of judicial review. Judicial review empowers courts to invalidate actions that are in conflict with constitutional provisions. (2)

Concept of Constitutional Law

In the U.S., in the context of the U.S. Constitution and Federalism, Constitutional Law has the following meaning: The legal document (constitution) and its interpretations by courts. These together make up supreme (basic, fundamental) law, higher than statutory or administrative law. (Source of this definition of Constitutional Law : University of Texas)

Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law Background


See Also

  • Constitution
  • Federalism

Constitutional Law Background


See Also

  • Legal Topics
  • Presidential government
  • Civil disobedience;
  • Democracy;
  • Equality;
  • Freedom;
  • Human rights
  • Assimilation;
  • Minorities;
  • Race;
  • Segregation
  • Abortion;
  • Administrative Law
  • Procedure Law;
  • Age Discrimination;
  • Commerce Clause;
  • Congress of the United States;
  • Constitution of the United States;
  • Criminal Procedure;
  • Custodial Interrogation;
  • Disability Discrimination;
  • Double Jeopardy;
  • Federal Budget;
  • Federalism;
  • Freedom of the Press;
  • Gay and Lesbian Rights;
  • Incorporation Doctrine;
  • Right to Counsel;
  • Sex Discrimination;
  • Speedy Trial
  • Democracy
  • Republicanism
  • Absolutism
  • Authority
  • Liberty
  • Natural Law
  • Political Philosophy
  • Sovereignty
  • Judicial Review (Judicial Function)
  • Public Law (Judicial Function)
  • Statute (Judicial Function)
  • Constitutional Law Questions
  • Constitutional Protection of the Rights Of the Accused
  • Constitutional Rights
  • Constitutional Argumentation
  • Constitutional Interpretation
  • Constitutional Protection of Religious Rights
  • Constitutional Protection of The Right to Privacy
  • Constitutional Regulation Of Business and Commerce
  • Constitutional Protection Of Civil Liberties
  • Constitutional Protection Of Personal Rights
  • Constitutional Protection of Free Speech
  • Constitutional Fictions
  • Constitutional Convention
  • Constitutional Convention Delegates
  • Constitutional Reform
  • Constitutional Remedies
  • Constitutional Reason of State
  • Constitutional History
  • State Constitutional Law
  • Constitutional Clauses
  • Constitutional Amendment Resolution
  • List of Constitutional Bibliography of the United States
  • Constitutional Convention and The Judiciary
  • Constitutional Theory
  • Constitutional Law Transformation
  • Constitutional Dualism

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Constitutional Law from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California
  2. Id.

Further Reading (Books)

“Anson, William R. (1886–1892) 1922–1935 The Law and Custom of the Constitution. 2 vols., 5th ed. Oxford: Clarendon. → Volume 1: Parliament. Volume 2: The Crown.

Beard, Charles A. (1913) 1961 An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. New York: Macmillan.

Chafee, Zechariah, Jr. 1941 Free Speech in the United States. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press. → Supersedes Chafee’s Freedom of Speech, 1920.

Cooley, Thomas M. (1868) 1927 A Treatise on Constitutional Limitations Which Rest Upon the Legislative Power of the States of the American Union. 2 vols., 8th ed. Boston: Little.

Corwin, Edward S. (1928–1929) 1959 The “Higher Law” Background of American Constitutional Law. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press. → First published in the Harvard Law Review.

Corwin, Edward S. (1940) 1957 The President: Office and Powers. 4th rev. ed. New York Univ. Press.

Dicey, Albert V. (1885) 1961 Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution. 10th ed. With an Introduction by E. C. S. Wade. London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martins. → First published as Lectures Introductory to the Study of the Law of the Constitution.

Douglas, William O. 1956 We the Judges: Studies in American and Indian Constitutional Law From Marshall to Mukherjea. New York: Doubleday.

Frank, Jerome (1930) 1949 Law and the Modern Mind. New York: Coward-McCann.

Freund, PAUL A. 1961 The Supreme Court of the United States: Its Business, Purposes, and Performance. Cleveland: World.

Holmes, Oliver Wendell (1881) 1963 The Common Law. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

Holmes, Oliver Wendell (1885–1918) 1952 Collected Legal Papers. Edited by Harold J. Laski. New York: Smith.”

Further Reading (Books 2)

“Jennings, William Ivor (1940) 1957 Parliament. 2d ed. Cambridge Univ. Press.

McWhinney, Edward (1956) 1960 Judicial Review in the English-speaking World. 2d ed. Univ. of Toronto Press.

Mason, Alpheus T. 1956 Harlan Fiske Stone: Pillar of the Law. New York: Viking.

Murphy, Walter F. 1962 Congress and the Court: A Case Study in the American Political Process. Univ. of Chicago Press.

Pritchett, C. Herman (1948) 1963 The Roosevelt Court: A Study in Judicial Politics and Values, 1937–1947. New York: Octagon Books.

Pritchett, C. Herman 1959 The American Constitution. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Schubert, Glendon (editor) 1963 Judicial Decisionmaking. International Yearbook of Political Behavior Research, Vol. 4. New York: Free Press.

Schubert, Glendon (editor) 1964 Judicial Behavior: A Reader in Theory and Research. Chicago: Rand McNally.

Story, Joseph (1833) 1891 Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. 2 vols., 5th ed. Boston: Little.

Swisher, Carl B. (1930) 1963 Stephen J. Field: Craftsman of the Law. Hamden, Conn.: Shoe String Press.

Warren, Charles (1923) 1937 The Supreme Court in United States History. 2 vols., rev. ed. Boston: Little.”

Further Reading (Articles)

“American Assembly 1955 The Forty-eight States: Their Tasks as Policy Makers and Administrators. New York: Columbia Univ., School of Business.

Bowie, Robert R.; and Friedrich, Carl J. (editors) 1954 Studies in Federalism. Boston: Little.

Calhoun, John C. (1851) 1953 A Disquisition on Government, and Selections From the Discourse. New York: Liberal Arts Press. → Published posthumously.

Carpenter, William S. 1928 Separation of Powers in the Eighteenth Century. American Political Science Review 22:32–44.

Corwin, Edward S. 1934 The Twilight of the Supreme Court: A History of Our Constitutional Theory. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press.

Corwin, Edward S. (1936) 1962 The Commerce Power Versus States Rights. Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith.

Corwin, Edward S. (1938) 1957 Court Over Constitution: A Study of Judicial Review as an Instrument of Popular Government. Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith.

Corwin, Edward S. (1941) 1946 Constitutional Revolution, Ltd. Claremont, Calif.: Pomona College.

Cushman, Robert E. 1941 The Independent Regulatory Commissions. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

Hamilton, Alexander; Madison, James; and Jay, John (1788) 1961 The Federalist. Edited with introduction and notes by Jacob E. Cooke. Middletown, Conn.: Wesley an Univ, Press.

Levy, Leonard W. 1963 Jefferson and Civil Liberties: The Darker Side. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

Locke, John (1690) 1964 The Second Treatise of Government: An Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent, and End of Civil Government. Pages 283–446 in John Locke, Two Treatises of Government. Cambridge Univ. Press.

McLaughlin, Andrew C, 1932 Foundations of American Constitutionalism. New York Univ. Press. → A paperback edition was published in 1961 by Fawcett.”

More Related Articles

“Macmahon, Arthur W, (editor) (1955) 1962 Federalism: Mature and Emergent. New York: Russell.

McWhinney, Edward 1962 Comparative Federalism: States’ Rights and National Power. Univ. of Toronto Press.

Montesquieu, Charles L. (1748) 1962 The Spirit of the Laws. 2 vols. New York: Hafner. → First published in French.

Pollock, Frederick; and Maitland, Frederic W. (1895) 1952 The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I. 2 vols., 2d ed. Boston: Little.

Riker, William H. 1964 Federalism: Origin, Operation, Significance. Boston: Little.

Roche, John P. (1952–1963) 1964 Shadow and Substance: Essays on the Theory and Structure of Politics. New York: Macmillan.

Sharp, Malcolm P. 1935 The Classical American Doctrine of “the Separation of Powers.” University of Chicago Law Review 2:385–436.

Wheare, Kenneth C. (1946) 1964 Federal Government. 4th ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

Wright, Benjamin F. 1933 Origins of the Separation of Powers in America. Economica 13:169–185.” “Chafee, Zechariah Jr. 1941 Free Speech in the United States. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press. → Supersedes Chafee’s Freedom of Speech, 1920.

Commager, Henry Steele et al. 1951 Civil Liberties Under Attack. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press.

Corwin, Edward S. 1948 Liberty Against Government: The Rise, Flowering and Decline of a Famous Juridical Concept. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press.

Cushman, Robert E. 1956 Civil Liberties in the United States: A Guide to Current Problems and Experience. Cornell Studies in Civil Liberty. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press.

Emerson, Thomas I.; and Haber, David (1952) 1958 Political and Civil Rights in the United States: A Collection of Legal and Related Materials. 2d ed., 2 vols. Buffalo, N.Y.: Dennis.

Fellman, David 1958 The Defendant’s Rights. New York: Holt.

Hobhouse, Leonard T. 1911 Social Evolution and Political Theory. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

Kauper, Paul G. 1962 Civil Liberties and the Constitution. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

Meiklejohn, Alexander 1960 Political Freedom: The Constitutional Powers of the People. New York: Harper.

Roche, John P. 1963 The Quest for the Dream: The Development of Civil Rights and Human Relations in Modern America. New York: Macmillan.

Schumpeter, Joseph A. (1942) 1950 Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. 3d ed. New York: Harper; London: Allen & Unwin. → A paperback edition was published by Harper in 1962.

Stouffer, Samuel A. (1955) 1963 Communism, Conformity, and Civil Liberties: A Cross-section of the Nation Speaks Its Mind. Gloucester, Mass.: Smith.” “Acton, John E. D. (1861–1910) 1948 Essays on Freedom and Power. Boston: Beacon. → A paperback edition was published in 1955 by Noonday.

Bagehot, Walter (1872) 1956 Physics and Politics: Or, Thoughts on the Application of the Principles of “Natural Selection” and “Inheritance” to Political Society. Boston: Beacon.

Baldry, H. C. 1965 The Unity of Mankind in Greek Thought. Cambridge Univ. Press.

Barron, Milton L. (editor) 1957 American Minorities: A Textbook of Readings in Intergroup Relations. New York: Knopf.

Brooks, Alexander D. 1962 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Civil Liberties Educational Foundation.

Chief Ministers’ Conference on National Integration, Delhi 1961 National Integration: Decisions Taken by the Chief Ministers’ Conference. New Delhi: Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity.

Collier, John 1947 The Indians of the Americas. New York: Norton. → An abridged paperback edition was published in 1953 by New American Library.

Epstein, Benjamin R.; and Foster, Arnold 1962 “Some of My Best Friends … .” New York: Farrar, Straus.

Franklin, John H. (1947) 1956 From Slavery to Freedom: A History of American Negroes. 2d ed., rev. & enl. New York: Knopf.

Glazer, Nathan; and Moynihan, Daniel P. 1963 Beyond the Melting Pot: The Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians, and the Irish of New York City. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press.

Gordon, Milton M. 1964 Assimilation in American Life: The Role of Race, Religion, and National Origin. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.” “Gossett, Thomas F. 1963 Race: The History of an Idea in America. Dallas, Texas: Southern Methodist Univ. Press.

Greenberg, Jack 1959 Race Relations and American Law. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

Grimes, Alan P. 1964 Equality in America: Religion, Race, and the Urban Majority. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

Gumplowicz, Ludwig 1883 Der Rassenkampf: Sociologische Untersuchungen. Innsbruck (Austria): Verlag der Wagner’schen Universitats Buchhandlung. → Also published in 1893 in French as La lutte des races; Recherches sociologiques.

Handlin, Oscar 1957 Race and Nationality in American Life. Boston: Little.

Handlin, Oscar 1959 The Newcomers: Negroes and Puerto Ricans in a Changing Metropolis. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

Handlin, Oscar 1964 Fire-bell in the Night: The Crisis in Civil Rights. Boston: Little.

Harris, Robert J. 1960 The Quest for Equality: The Constitution, Congress, and the Supreme Court. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press.

Hegel, Georg W. F. (1817) 1841 Werke. Volume 6: Encyklopädie der philosophischen Wissenschaften im Grundrisse. 2d ed. Berlin: Duncker. → Translation of extract in text provided by Milton R. Konvitz.

Kallen, Horace M. 1924 Culture and Democracy in the United States: Studies in the Group Psychology of the American Peoples. New York: Liveright.

Konvitz, Milton R. 1946 The Alien and the Asiatic in American Law. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press.

Konvitz, Milton R. 1947 The Constitution and Civil Rights. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.” “Konvitz, Milton R. 1953 Civil Rights in Immigration. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press.

Konvitz, Milton R. (editor) (1954) 1965 Bill of Rights Reader. 3d ed. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press.

Konvitz, Milton R. 1961 A Century of Civil Rights. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

Konvitz, Milton R. 1966 Expanding Liberty: Freedom’s Gains in Postwar America. New York: Viking.

Montagu, Ashley (1951) 1952 Statement on Race: An Extended Discussion in Plain Language of the UNESCO Statement by Experts on Race Problems. 2d ed. New York: Schuman.

Moskowitz, Moses (1958) 1959 Human Rights and World Order: The Struggle for Human Rights in the United Nations. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana; London: Stevens.

Myrdal, Gunnar (1944) 1962 An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy. New York: Harper. → A paperback edition was published in 1964 by McGraw-Hill.

Niebuhr, Reinhold 1932 Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics. New York and London: Scribner. → A paperback edition was published in 1960.

Robinson, Jacob 1946 Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary. New York: Institute of Jewish Affairs.

Rose, Arnold M. (editor) 1951 Race Prejudice and Discrimination: Readings in Intergroup Relations in the United States. New York: Knopf.

Rose, Arnold M.; and Rose, Caroline 1948 America Divided: Minority Group Relations in the United States. New York: Knopf.

Silberman, Charles E. 1964 Crisis in Black and White. New York: Random House.

Stampp, Kenneth M. 1956 The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Antebellum South. New York: Knopf.

Tannenbaum, Frank 1947 Slave and Citizen: The Negro in the Americas. New York: Knopf. → A paperback edition was published in 1963 by Random House.” “Toynbee, Arnold J. 1934 A Study of History. Volume 1: Introduction: The Geneses of Civilizations. Oxford Univ. Press.

United Nations Charter 1945 Charter of the United Nations and Statute of the International Court of Justice. New York: United Nations.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 1959 [and subsequent years] Report. Washington: Government Printing Office.

U.S. President’S Committee on Civil Rights 1947 To Secure These Rights. Washington: Government Printing Office.

Westin, Alan F. (editor) 1964 Freedom Now! The Civil-rights Struggle in America. New York: Basic Books.

Woodward, Comer V. 1955 The Strange Career of Jim Crow. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. → A revised edition was published in paperback in 1957.

Yearbook of the European Convention on Human Rights. → Published since 1955/1957.

Yearbook on Human Rights. → Published by the United Nations since 1946.” “Beer, Laurence Ward, ed. Constitutionalism in Asia: Asian Views of the American Influence. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979.

Bellamy, Richard, ed. Constitutionalism, Democracy, and Sovereignty: American and European Perspectives. Aldershot, U.K.: Avebury, 1996.

Black, Antony. The History of Islamic Political Thought: From the Prophet to the Present. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2001.

Castiglione, Dario, and Richard Bellamy, eds. Constitutionalism in Transformation: European and Theoretical Perspectives. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.

Figgis, J. N. Political Thought from Gerson to Grotius, 1414–1625. 2nd ed. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1916.

Franklin, Julian, trans. and ed. Constitutionalism and Resistance in the Sixteenth Century: Three Treatises by Hotman, Beza, and Mornay. New York: Pegasus, 1969.

Gordon, Scott. Controlling the State: Constitutionalism from Ancient Athens to Today. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Lloyd, Howell, A. “Constitutionalism.” In The Cambridge History of Political Thought, 1450–1700, edited by J. H. Burns and Mark Goldie, 254–297. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

McIlwain, Charles H. Constitutionalism, Ancient and Modern. Rev. ed. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1947. Tierney, Brian. Religion, Law, and the Growth of Constitutional

Thought, 1150–1650. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Takashi Shogimen” “Elton, G. R., ed. The Tudor Constitution: Documents and Commentary. 2nd ed. Cambridge, U.K., 1982.

Hotman, François. Francogallia. Edited by Ralph E. Giesey. Translated by J. H. M. Salmon. Cambridge, U.K., 1972. With commentary by the editors.

Kenyon, J. P., ed. The Stuart Constitution: Documents and Commentary. 2nd ed. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 1986.

Locke, John. Two Treatises of Government. Edited by Peter Laslett. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 1988. With commentary by the editor.

Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de. The Spirit of the Laws. Translated by Thomas Nugent. New York, 1949.

Seyssel, Claude de. The Monarchy of France. Translated by J. H. Hexter. Edited by Donald R. Kelley. New Haven, 1981.” “Church, William Farr. Constitutional Thought in Sixteenth-Century France: A Study in the Evolution of Ideas. New York, 1941.

Dufour, Alfred. “Pufendorf.” In The Cambridge History of Political Thought, 1450–1700. Edited by J. H. Burns. Cambridge, U.K., 1991.

Friedrich, Carl J. Constitutional Government and Democracy: Theory and Practice in Europe and America. Boston, 1941.

Lloyd, Howell A. “Constitutionalism.” In The Cambridge History of Political Thought, 1450–1700. Edited by J. H. Burns. Cambridge, U.K., 1991.

McIlwain, Charles Howard. Constitutionalism: Ancient and Modern. Rev. ed. Ithaca, N.Y., 1958.

Pocock, J. G. A. The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law: A Study of English Historical Thought in the Seventeenth Century. 2nd ed. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 1987.

Scott, Jonathan. England’s Troubles: Seventeenth-Century English Political Instability in European Context. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 2000.

Shklar, Judith N. Montesquieu. Oxford, 1987.

J. H. M. Salmon” “LAWMAKERS NEED HELP TO DRAFT CONSTITUTIONAL LAWS, The Beacon News – Aurora (IL); March 25, 1999
President Otunbaeva signs several constitutional laws with amendments to court system laws., AKIpress News Agency; June 14, 2011
Constitutional Law., Constitutional Commentary; March 22, 1998; Kelley, William K.
Reordering American constitutional law teaching. (The Teacher), PS: Political Science & Politics; December 1, 1994; Gerber, Scott D.
Canada’s “Newer Constitutional Law” and the Idea of Constitutional Rights, McGill Law Journal; September 22, 2006; Adams, Eric M.
Constitutional Law, Canadian Encyclopedia; January 1, 2012; GERALD-A. BEAUDOIN
The rhetoric of constitutional law.(Supreme Court opinions), Michigan Law Review; August 1, 2002; Chemerinsky, Erwin
The Historical Turn in the Constitutional Law of Foreign Relations, Chicago Journal of International Law; April 1, 2000; White, G. Edward
The Integration of Theory and Practice in Teaching Structural Issues in Constitutional Law, Constitutional Commentary; June 22, 2000; Braveman, Daan Banks, William
Is American Constitutional Law in Crisis? Ass’n of American Law Schools Section on Constitutional Law (January 2009), Constitutional Commentary; June 22, 2009; Kozinski, Alex
The Elements of Constitutional Law, Florida Bar Journal; May 1, 2011
Recent Findings in Constitutional Law Described by Researchers from Humboldt University, Politics & Government Week; March 6, 2014
Revered Constitutional Law Scholar Gerald Gunther Dead at Age 75., Ascribe Higher Education News Service; July 31, 2002
Framing Transactions in Constitutional Law, The Yale Law Journal; April 1, 2002; Levinson, Daryl J.
Transformation of Constitutional Law, Encyclopedia of the American Constitution; January 1, 2000
President Otunbaeva signs constitutional law on Constitutional Chamber of Supreme Court., AKIpress News Agency; June 14, 2011
Two Cheers for State Constitutional Law, Stanford Law Review; June 1, 2010; Chemerinsky, Erwin
The Once and Future Constitutional Law: On the Law of American State Constitutions, Albany Law Review; June 22, 2011; Friedman, Lawrence M.
The Future of the U.S. Supreme Court: Nation’s Top Constitutional Law Scholars to Debate — Public Invited., Ascribe Higher Education News Service; October 24, 2002
Research from University of Toronto in constitutional law provides new insights., Politics & Government Week; December 3, 2009″

Constitutional Law: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Constitutional Law. This part provides references, in relation to Constitutional Law, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Constitutional Law by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Constitutional Law and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Constitutional Law or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Constitutional Law and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Constitutional Law. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Constitutional Law should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Constitutional Law when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

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