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Reading & Finding Constitutional Law

Reading Finding Constitutional Law

Constitutional law refers to the category of law that studies the laws of the Constitution as a means of interpretation and analysis. (This is in reference to the federal Constitution, many states have their own constitutions, but they, too, must adhere ultimately, to the U.S. Constitution).

Finding and reading constitutional law happens on two fundamental ways, through primary examination and secondary examination (or resourcing). Finding the actual Constitution, as well as State Constitutions, Unlike many collections of legal codes, Constitutions are not prone to frequent update and revision, due to the fact that the laws outlined in a Constitution have to be ratified as opposed to simply being legislated.

Secondary examinations Constitutional Laws often forms the more common field of legal research that will be completed, as this will be the substantive material resources that have been formed critically or interpretively in regards to the written word of the Constitution. There are many avenues open to a paralegal looking to find this information, which include indexes, digests, annotations, and catalogs, as well as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and loose leaf services.

Indexes, digests, and annotations all involve listings that provide references to existing material. Digests uses key words as means by which to cross reference material from many different sources, and can be valuable as a means by which to locate articles and cases that have relevance to the element of Constitutional law a researcher is currently examining. (Catalogs are generally services that provide access to all of these services).

There are a fair amount of legal encyclopedias that are devoted to Constitutional law, and even some legal dictionaries, and they can be very good sources for comprehensive information, though likely in a more historical sense than a contemporary one, which is due simply to the nature of publication.

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