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Celebrating Constitution Day? There’s an App for That

In honor of the 226th birthday of the Constitution, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office are launching a new free app.

“Constitution Annotated” makes the document founding our republic, signed by the 13 colonies on this day in 1787, plus modern analysis and interpretation of constitutional law accessible to iPhone users and anyone with computer access. Developers are working on an Android version.

“The Constitution Annotated app will enable people across America to gain up-to-date, state-of-the-art access to one of the world’s greatest legal documents,” said New York Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer, chairman of the Rules and Administration Committee, which oversees publication of the printed version.

The app released Tuesday includes analysis by the Congressional Research Service and the LOC of Supreme Court cases through June 26, 2013, which will be updated multiple times each year as new court decisions are issued.

In addition to Constitution Day, the release of the new resources coincides with the 100th anniversary edition of a printed document, “The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation,” published at the direction of the Senate for the first time in 1913.

On the app, users can read the nearly 3,000-page document, browse by section, such as article or amendment to the Constitution, and search all of the text.

“The premise of the Constitution Annotated for 100 years has been to reflect our current interpretation and application of America’s most fundamental law,” Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said. “These new 21st-century methods of distributing, accessing and updating this important document mean that the insightful and timely analysis our Library of Congress experts produce each year is easily and freely accessible to anyone.”

The Constitution Annotated web publication will be available on GPO’s Federal Digital System, FDsys, as a searchable PDF that includes a linked table of contents, a linked table of cases and a linked index. An interactive table on the GPO’s website lists recent cases of high interest and tips for searching for those overwhelmed by the high volume of data.

“Through this collaborative project, the Library of Congress and GPO are providing the public with timely access to an enhanced, authenticated version of the ‘Constitution Annotated’ through GPO’s Federal Digital System,” Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks said. “This is another example of how GPO works with Congress, the Library and other agencies to meet the information needs of the American people in the digital age.”

“Constitution Annotated” comes on the heels of another GPO app. Last week, the agency released the Mobile Member Guide app for the 113th Congress, which features pictures, party affiliation and bio data about members of the House and Senate. Users can browse Congress by last name, state, chamber or party on the free app.

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