September 17, 2013 There's an App for This: The Constitution
Direct Access to Expert Analysis of the Supreme Law of the Land
Press Contact: Gayle Osterberg, Library of Congress (202) 707-0020 | Gary Somerset, Government Printing Office (202) 512-1957
The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office (GPO) mark Constitution Day today by launching a new app and web publication that make analysis and interpretation of constitutional case law by Library experts accessible for free to anyone with a computer or mobile device.
The new resources, which include analysis of Supreme Court cases through June 26, 2013, will be updated multiple times each year as new court decisions are issued. Legal professionals, teachers, students and anyone researching the constitutional implications of a particular topic can easily locate constitutional amendments, federal and state laws that were held unconstitutional, and tables of recent cases with corresponding topics and constitutional implications.
Release of the new resources coincides with the 100th anniversary edition of a printed document, “The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation”, which was published at the direction of the U.S. Senate for the first time in 1913. Popularly known as the “Constitution Annotated”, the volume has been published as a bound edition every 10 years, with updates addressing new constitutional law cases issued every two years. The analysis is provided by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in the Library of Congress. Because of its size and update cycle, the print version has been used primarily by federal lawmakers, libraries and law firms.
The new app and improved web publication will make the nearly 3,000-page “Constitution Annotated” more accessible to more people and enable updates of new case analysis three or four times each year.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, which oversees publication of the printed document, said, “The United States has the world’s oldest constitution, written over 225 years ago. The Constitution Annotated app will enable people across America to gain up-to-date, state-of-the-art access to one of the world’s greatest legal documents. I congratulate the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office for making the Constitution Annotated app and improved web publication a reality.”
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, “The premise of the Constitution Annotated for 100 years has been to reflect our current interpretation and application of America’s most fundamental law. These new 21st-century methods of distributing, accessing and updating this important document mean that the insightful and timely analysis our Library of Congress experts produce each year is easily and freely accessible to anyone.”
Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks said, “Through this collaborative project, the Library of Congress and GPO are providing the public with timely access to an enhanced, authenticated version of the “Constitution Annotated” through GPO’s Federal Digital System. This is another example of how GPO works with Congress, the Library and other agencies to meet the information needs of the American people in the digital age.”
The new Constitution Annotated app is available for the iOS platform and allows users to read the entire document; browse by section – such as by article of or amendment to the Constitution; view and navigate content from a table of cases and index; and search all text. The app can be downloaded for free from iTunes. A direct link is here: beta.congress.gov/constitution-annotated. An Android version is under development.
The Constitution Annotated web publication will be available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) fdsys.gov as a digitally-signed, searchable PDF that includes a linked table of contents, a linked table of cases, a linked index and GPO’s Seal of Authenticity on every page.
The new Constitution Annotated and a suite of constitutional resources can be viewed at beta.congress.gov/constitution-annotated. The page features links to the app stores, an interactive table listing recent cases of high interest, a bibliography of Constitution-related primary documents in American history and tips for searching the Constitution Annotated on GPO’s website at gpo.gov/constitutionannotated.
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s pre-eminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
GPO is the Federal Government’s official, digital, secure resource for producing, procuring, cataloging, indexing, authenticating, disseminating, and preserving the official information products of the U.S. Government. The GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government, including U.S. passports for the Department of State as well as the official publications of Congress, the White House, and other Federal agencies in digital and print formats. GPO provides for permanent public access to Federal Government information at no charge through our Federal Digital System (fdsys.gov), partnerships with approximately 1,200 libraries nationwide participating in the Federal Depository Library Program, and our secure online bookstore. For more information, please visit gpo.gov.