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Constitution Day: September 17th: Constitutional Resources at Trinity

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America....

For some, the language of the Preamble to the Constitution is inspiring. For others, it offers promises broken or unfulfilled. What rights and opportunities does this document secure, and for whom? How have time and circumstance shaped, and been shaped by, these ideals?

As an educational institution that receives federal funding, Trinity University marks Constitution Day by inviting our campus community to take a more critical look at this founding document.

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Fidelity and Constraint: How the Supreme Court has Read the American Constitution

"The fundamental fact about our Constitution is that it is old--the oldest written constitution in the world. The fundamental challenge for interpreters of the Constitution is how to read that old document over time. In Fidelity & Constraint, legal scholar Lawrence Lessig explains that one of the most basic approaches to interpreting the constitution is the process of translation....Lessig not only shows us how important the concept of translation is to constitutional interpretation, but also exposes the institutional limits on this practice."

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America's Lone Star Constitution

"From voting rights to railroad regulations, or school finance to capital punishment, poverty to civil liberties, this wide-ranging and eminently readable book provides a window into the relationship between constitutional litigation and ordinary politics at the Supreme Court, illuminating how all of the fiercest national divides over what the Constitution means took shape in Texas."

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Legacy of Dissent

"This illuminating work examines Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's contributions in reshaping the rhetoric of the law (specifically through the lens of watershed cases in women's rights) and describes her rhetorical contributions--beginning with her work in the 1970s as a lawyer and an advocate for the ACLU's Women's Rights Project through her tenure as a Supreme Court justice."

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First Amendment Freedoms: a Reference Handbook


"First Amendment Freedoms: A Reference Handbook provides a comprehensive, objective, and accessible source of critically important information on the First Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly, and the post-Civil War Fourteenth Amendment. Geared for high school and college readers, it covers relevant historical events from the adoption of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to the array of Supreme Court cases that further defined the scope and limits of First Amendment freedoms."

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Citizens and Others: The Constitution of Citizenship through Exclusion

Use the library's JSTOR database to access this article on the ways in "citizenship has been understood, examine its dominant intellectual genealogy, and address its deeper racialized structures."

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Original Intent: The Battle for America

You have probably heard the phrase "original intent" in relation to the Constitution. What does it mean, and how is it being used today in courts and legislation? This award-winning film helps contextualize and explore the rise of this term and its implications today.

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The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents

"Constitutional law scholar and political science professor Corey Brettschneider guides us through the Constitution and explains the powers--and limits--that it places on the presidency. From the document itself and from American history's most famous court cases, we learn why certain powers were granted to the presidency, how the Bill of Rights limits those powers, and what "the people" can do to influence the nation's highest public office..."

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The Second Founding

"From the Pulitzer Prize-winning scholar comes a timely history of the constitutional changes that built equality into the nation's foundation and how those guarantees have been shaken over time."

In the Library

Collage of books on privacy from library table display

This year's display focuses civil liberties and privacy. It can be found on the main floor of the library near the Starbucks area. Display books are available for checkout!

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization focused on the constitutional rights of every person in the United States. Formed in the aftermath of World War I, the ACLU is an active force for civil liberties today. Read more about the organization's history and current issues.

Screenshot of ACLU historical news clippings