The Battle for the Constitution

A special project on the constitutional debates in American life, in partnership with the National Constitution Center

Support for this project was provided by the Madison Initiative of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. More

This work was commissioned, produced, and edited by The Atlantic's editorial staff. Support for this work was provided in part by the organizations listed here.

An illustration of a map of the United States with the Capitol behind it.
The Atlantic

The New Federalism

In a crisis defined by erratic leadership in Washington, D.C., the states, as much out of desperation as by design, find themselves asserting long-dormant powers.

An illustration of paper people cut out of the Constitution.
pockygallery / shutterstock / The Atlantic

Beyond Originalism

The dominant conservative philosophy for interpreting the Constitution has served its purpose, and scholars ought to develop a more moral framework.

The church of SantAmbrogio
Marco Di Lauro / Getty

Close the Churches

State and local shutdown orders shouldn’t exempt religious gatherings, and those communities should comply.

Rows of files
Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters

Trump’s Quiet Power Grab

The president’s administration is attempting to bring thousands of federal employees under his control, and the public is largely unaware.

The U.S. Supreme Court
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Images

Montana’s Original Sin

The state may have to revive a now-defunct school-scholarship program to make amends for supposed anti-Catholic sentiment at its founding.

Stephanie Keith / Reuters

Guns Are No Mere Symbol

Protesters gathered at the Virginia state capitol on Monday to exercise their First Amendment rights, but they did so in a way that took away the First Amendment rights of others.

House Judiciary Committee
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

What the Democrats Left Out

Instead of settling on charges that relate to statutory crimes, with clear, concrete criteria, the Democrats have instead released two articles of impeachment in which the misconduct exists largely in the eye of the beholder.

Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries, and Eliot Engel speak in front of a podium during a media briefing.
Joshua Roberts / Reuters

The Weaponization of Impeachment

America’s political leaders like to talk a big game about proper constitutional conduct and high-minded principles, but the history of impeachment reveals that partisanship is a more powerful motivator.

North Carolina Electoral College representatives sign the Certificates of Vote after they all cast their ballots for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in the State Capitol building in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S., December 19, 2016.
Jonathan Drake / Reuters

Five Common Misconceptions About the Electoral College

Defenders of the Electoral College argue that it was created to combat majority tyranny and support federalism, and that it continues to serve those purposes. This stance depends on a profound misunderstanding of the history of the institution.

U.S.-citizenship candidates look at a video presentation as they wait to take the oath of citizenship at a naturalization ceremony.
Kevork Djansezian / Getty

The Fragility of American Citizenship

Some people are learning that their birth or naturalization certificates aren’t enough to prove citizenship—a problem that the Fourteenth Amendment should ideally prevent.