constitutional law



A forum in First Amendment law refers to the place in which a speaker speaks. The First Amendment's protections regarding the right to speak and assemble will vary based on the speakers’ chosen forum. In Perry Educ. Ass’n v. Perry Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37 (1983), the Supreme Court divided forums into three types: traditional public forums, designated forums, and nonpublic forums. 

Government Speech

Although the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause limits government regulation of private speech, it does not restrict the government when the government speaks for itself. For example, if the government allows private groups to hold rallies in a public park, it may not exclude a white supremacist rally solely because it disagrees with the rally’s message. See Forums.

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Fifth Amendment

Fifth Amendment: An Overview

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Federal Material

U.S. Constitution and Federal Statute

Federal Agency Regulations

Federal Judicial Decisions

State Material

State Statutes

Conventions and Treaties

Other References

Key Internet Sources

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Electronic Surveillance


Electronic surveillance is defined in federal law as the nonconsensual acquisition by an electronic, mechanical, or other

Commerce Clause



The Commerce Clause refers to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian


Commander in Chief Powers

Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the Commander in Chief clause, states that "[t]he President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States."

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Louis Fisher, Constitutional Conflicts between Congress and the President 249-272 (2007).

Federal Material

U.S. Constitution

Federal Law

Emergency Powers


The Constitution does not expressly grant the President additional war powers or other powers in times of national emergency.  However, many scholars think that the Framers implied these powers because the structural design of the

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Federalism is a system of government in which the same territory is controlled by two levels of government. Generally, an overarching national government is responsible for broader governance of larger territorial areas, while the smaller subdivisions, states, and cities govern the issues of local concern.

Both the national government and the smaller political subdivisions have the power to make laws and both have a certain level of autonomy from each other.


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