Close Reading of the Constitution

Send by email
Essential Questions: 

What are the specific powers granted to each branch of the government?

How are the debates at the Convention spelled out and resolved in the Consitution?

What was the inspiration for the Bill of Rights and what does it seek to guarantee?

What are the major schools of constitutional interpretation and how do they conflict with one another?

What is the best way to read the Constitution?


The three branches of federal government and their powers; the limits of federal and governmental powers.

The Bill of Rights and historical debates over its meaning.

The powers of the states.

The various methods of constitutional interpretation, including originalism, textualism, and the notion of a "living Constitution."


Essay evaluating judicial philosophies on the Court.


 Breyer, Stephen. Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution. New York: Vintage, 2006.

The Constitution of the United States of America.

Supreme Court of the United States Blog.