A constitution is the prevailing law of a nation that sets forth the powers and limitations of governmental entities and defines those rights and liberties afforded to the people of that sovereignty. By its own language, the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Nevertheless, each of the fifty states has drafted its own constitution, which focuses upon the functions of the state government. Note that these state constitutions cannot infringe upon those rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution but can provide additional protections not explicitly granted under federal law.
This research guide will address how to find the both the United States and Texas Constitutions and how to locate judicial interpretations of these laws and those secondary sources discussing them. In addition, this guide will provide some suggestions relating to the history of the constitutions as well as to the United States Supreme Court itself.
Text of the United States Constitution
Annotated Texts of the United States Consititution
The following sources are especially useful because they set forth the actual text of the law as well as references to secondary resources, such as law review and journal commentaries, legal encyclopedias, and digests. There are also historical notes and interpretive notes and decisions, which refer to cases discussing that particular topic and/or issue. Annotated texts are often a good first step in the research process.
- United States Code Annotated KF62 .U5
- United States Code Service KF62 .U6
- The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation: Prepared by the Congressional Research Service (2004) KF4527 .U5 2004
- Also available on Hein Online (via the databases list on STANLEY)