On September 17—Constitution Day—the National Constitution Center (NCC) launched the Interactive Constitution, an online project that gathers constitutional scholars of contrasting viewpoints to elucidate and debate the Constitution’s history and meaning. So far, six NYU Law faculty members have contributed their insights.

The Interactive Constitution showcases the Constitution’s role as a living document by assigning pairs of constitutional law scholars—chosen with the guidance of the American Constitutional Society and the Federalist Society—to write joint statements on particular provisions that get at the basic meaning of the text, followed by individual statements expressing their differing perspectives. As of now, 15 amendments are available online featuring scholarly commentary.

Some of NYU Law’s leading constitutional law faculty have contributed already:

Richard Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, on the takings clause
Barry Friedman, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law, on the Fourth Amendment
Burt Neuborne, Norman Dorsen Professor of Civil Liberties, on the right to assemble and petition
Richard Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, on the 15th Amendment
Professor of Clinical Law Bryan Stevenson on the Eighth Amendment
Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law, on the due process clause

Pildes also co-chairs the advisory board of the NCC’s Coalition of Freedom, which has spearheaded the project. Established last December with a $5.5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the coalition has a three-year mission to increase awareness of constitutional rights through the Interactive Constitution, student writing contests, debates, and a lesson-planning contest for teachers.

Already, the Interactive Constitution stands to influence how students learn about their rights. In partnership with the NCC, the College Board has developed lesson plans for Advanced Placement courses that rely on this new online resource.

“We are the only private, nonprofit institution in America chartered by Congress to bring all sides together to discuss the Constitution,” Jeffrey Rosen, president and chief executive officer of the NCC, said in a statement, “and it’s hard to imagine a better way of encouraging all citizens to set aside their partisan differences and explore the best arguments on all sides of the Constitutional debates at the center of American life.”

Posted September 21, 2015