The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (popularly known as the Constitution Annotated) contains legal analysis and interpretation of the United States Constitution, based primarily on Supreme Court case law. This regularly updated resource is especially useful when researching the constitutional implications of a specific issue or topic. The Featured Topics and Cases page highlights recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that demonstrate pivotal interpretations of the Constitution's provisions.
While this website is regularly updated by Congressional Research Service attorneys and tracks the latest constitutional law developments, currently because of technological difficulties we are unable to update the website to reflect changes from the 2017–2018 Supreme Court term.
The Constitution comprises the primary law of the United States. It describes the three chief branches of the Federal Government and their jurisdictions, and lays out the basic rights of the country's citizens. The world's longest surviving government charter, the Constitution was framed in May 1787 by a convention of delegates from twelve of the thirteen original states in Philadelphia.
The Constitution Annotated provides a clause-by-clause explanation of this landmark document, with references to nearly 8,000 Supreme Court cases. Constitutional law experts from the Congressional Research Service author the treatise and the Government Printing Office publishes the editions and supplements.
The 2012 Centennial Edition of the Constitution Annotated
The Government Printing Office (GPO) published the centennial edition of the treatise in 2012, along with a web version. Publications were formerly limited to hard-bound decennial editions and separate soft-cover biennial supplements, but the online resource allows for the publication of up-to-date PDF versions of the treatise. Both full-text searches and browsing by subject or case are available through the GPO govinfo website.
Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation
Includes analysis of Supreme Court cases decided through August 26, 2017
Articles, amendments, the index and tables from the Constitution Annotated are provided here as separate PDF files.
The complete Constitution Annotated PDF provides interactive links from the table of contents, index, and table of cases. The complete document is large (15160 KB PDF), and may take several minutes to download. Save the file, then open it in a PDF reader. All articles, amendments, and sections of the Constitution Annotated are available as separate PDF files.
Historical Note on Formation of the Constitution Constitution of the United States
|Article I||Legislative Department|
|Article II||Executive Department|
|Article III||Judicial Department|
|Article IV||States' Relations|
|Article V||Mode of Amendment|
|Article VI||Prior Debts, National Supremacy, and Oaths of Office|
Amendments to the Constitution
|Bill of Rights||First Through Tenth Amendments|
|1st Amendment||Religion and Free Expression|
|2nd Amendment||Bearing Arms|
|3rd Amendment||Quartering Soldiers|
|4th Amendment||Search and Seizure|
|5th Amendment||Rights of Persons|
|6th Amendment||Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions|
|7th Amendment||Civil Trials|
|8th Amendment||Further Guarantees in Criminal Cases|
|9th Amendment||Unenumerated Rights|
|10th Amendment||Reserved Powers|
|11th Amendment||Suits Against States|
|12th Amendment||Election of President|
|13th Amendment||Slavery and Involuntary Servitude|
|14th Amendment||Rights Guaranteed|
|15th Amendment||Right of Citizens to Vote|
|16th Amendment||Income Tax|
|17th Amendment||Popular Election of Senators|
|18th Amendment||Prohibition of Intoxicating Liquors|
|19th Amendment||Women's Suffrage Rights|
|20th Amendment||Terms of President, Vice President, Members of Congress: Presidential Vacancy|
|21st Amendment||Repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment|
|22nd Amendment||Presidential Tenure|
|23rd Amendment||Presidential Electors for the District of Columbia|
|24th Amendment||Abolition of the Poll Tax Qualification in Federal Elections|
|25th Amendment||Presidential Vacancy, Disability, and Inability|
|26th Amendment||Reduction of Voting Age Qualification|
|27th Amendment||Congressional Pay Limitation|