External Links


  Primary Documents in American History
     Library of Congress site contains:

* Declaration of Independence
* U.S. Constitution
* The Bill of Rights
* The Federalist Papers
* Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789
* Guide to American Historical Documents Online
* Charters of Freedom from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

American Civil Liberties Union

The American system of government is founded on two counterbalancing principles: that the majority of the people governs, through democratically elected representatives; and that the power even of a democratic majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights.

Majority power is limited by the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which consists of the original ten amendments ratified in 1791, plus the three post-Civil War amendments (the 13th, 14th and 15th) and the 19th Amendment (women's suffrage), adopted in 1920.

The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:

* Your First Amendment rights - freedom of speech, association and assembly; freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.
* Your right to equal protection under the law - equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
* Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
* Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.

The ACLU has maintained the position that civil liberties must be respected, even in times of national emergency.


American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) is one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations. Founded in 2001, ACS is a rapidly growing network of lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers and other concerned individuals. Our mission is to ensure that fundamental principles of human dignity, individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, and access to justice enjoy their rightful, central place in American law. Click here to learn more about our goals.

ACS is a non-partisan, non-profit educational organization. We do not, as an organization, lobby, litigate or take positions on specific issues, cases, legislation or nominations. We do encourage our members to express their views and make their voices heard.


American Presidency Project

From the University of California at Santa Barbara

The Public Papers of the Presidents
The American Presidency Project is the only online resource that has consolidated, coded, and organized into a single searchable database:
•The Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Washington - Taft (1789-1913)
•The Public Papers of the Presidents:  Hoover to Bush (1929-1993)
•The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents:  Clinton - G.W. Bush (1993-2008)


Annenburg Classroom
A resource site primarily for teachers, contains some very good videos of interviews with Supreme Court justices explaining their views of the Constitution.

A Conversation on the Constitution: Judicial Independence
Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, and Sandra Day O’Connor discuss the significance of the judiciary in the federal government and the ways in which independence is protected by the Constitution.

A Conversation with Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. on the Origin, Nature, and Importance of the Supreme Court
The establishment of a federal judiciary was a top priority for this nation’s founding fathers. A conversation about the high court—from its history and evolution to the methods Justices use in selecting and hearing cases, to the role of an independent judiciary and other issues crucial to a healthy democracy today.

A Conversation on the Constitution with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Fourteenth Amendment
Incorporating three integral constitutional tenets -- due process, equal protection, and privileges and immunities -- the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was originally intended to secure rights for former slaves, but over the years it has been expanded to protect all persons. A discussion of the importance of the 14th Amendment and how it came to embody and protect the principle of "We the People."

The Constitution Project: Expert Commentary
The Constitution Project assembled a panel of constitutional scholars and legals experts to discuss issues raised by the Justices in our videos. Here, presented, are a number of excerpts from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Chief Justice John G. Roberts, each followed by an analysis and commentary from the panel. You can also choose to view just the commentary.


Constitutional Source Project

Online searchable library for source materials of the United States Constitution. Includes documents such as Madison's Notes of the Constitutional Convention, notes from several State ratification debates, Bill of Rights legislative history, Washington's papers etc.


Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies

* The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.

* This entails reordering priorities within the legal system to place a premium on individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law. It also requires restoring the recognition of the importance of these norms among lawyers, judges, law students and professors. In working to achieve these goals, the Society has created a conservative and libertarian intellectual network that extends to all levels of the legal community.


Heritage Foundation

Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

We draw solutions to contemporary problems from the ideas, principles and traditions that make America great.

We are not afraid to begin our sentences with the words "We believe," because we do believe: in individual liberty, free enterprise, limited government, a strong national defense, and traditional American values.


Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.

We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice.
We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable.
We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.
We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.

Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental organization, supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide. It accepts no government funds, directly or indirectly.


Office of Legal Counsel

Site for the Office of Legal Counsel - a division of the Office of the Attorney General of the United States.    This is the office that provides legal memorandum to the Executive Branch

Copies of all declassified opinions from 1992 to the present


Rights of the People - U.S. State Department Publication
      A great blog run by Prof. Jack Balkin of Yale Law School. Participation from some of the top constitutional scholars.
       A great site for both information on the court and commentary and analysis on decisions.
McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum

         Podcast archive


        An excellent blog discussing many of the same issues I have raised.   For a better understanding of some of the abuses we have pointed out, see the timeline collection on the site