Professor Zachary Elkins and Team Create Site for Exploring World’s Constitutions
Posted: October 11, 2013
Associate Professor of Government and LLILAS associate, Zachary Elkins is one of the creators of the Google Web site Constitute that debuted on September 23, 2013, at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The free online resource currently makes available nearly all the world’s current constitutions, more than 160, for review and for use as models for analysis by drafters in countries updating or replacing their own constitutions.
The team consisted of Elkins, Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago) and James Melton (University of College London). The site uses data from the team’s Comparative Constitutions Project (CCP).
The innovation of Constitute lies in providing access to digital copies of texts that are usually contained in libraries and institutions. Elkins explains, “Constitute allows drafters to explore a more representative set of options, more systematically, and in a clean and beautiful reading environment.”
Currently, the Web site’s content is available in English and includes constitutions that were in place as of September 2013. Upcoming updates include the addition of a version of every available constitution written since 1789 and providing these texts in the official UN languages (French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese).