This is an outrage. An up-to-date, massive, clearly organized, extremely useful annotated Constitution compiled by the Congressional Research Service is not available to the public. You can view an old version at Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, showing just how tantalizingly useful the current version must be.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a federal agency in the Library of Congress that provides objective non-partisan research and analysis for members and committees of Congress. Their memos and reports are phenomenal. I call them the "CliffsNotes" to current issues -- only much better. They’re written by CRS attorneys, economists, scientists, political scientists and others. They give a full rundown of an issue in a compact format. Because the reports are authored by federal employees, they are in the public domain. Some memos are confidential – that’s understandable. Members of Congress might ask for a memo analyzing the constitutionality of proposed legislation. After the memo, the bill may be revised, and a Congressperson may not want the early draft made public.
To get nonconfidential memos and reports, however, you must either get it directly from a member of Congress (apparently considered a “perk” for the members to be able to dole them out), purchase it from a private source, or get lucky and find a copy that someone posted online e.g. via opencrs.com. Unless you get it directly, you may end up with an older version; this is frustrating.
But more frustrating still is the outdated Constitution Annotated, officially known as The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation. It would be one thing if money to revise it has dried up – but in fact, it is under a comprehensive source, constantly revised at the CRS internal website. The Constitution Annotated goes through the Constitution, article by article and amendment by amendment, discussing each article and amendment’s history and analyzing, or at least mentioning, and just about every U.S. Supreme Court case that has interpreted it. It is a couple of thousand pages long. You can’t even ask a member of Congress for a copy. You can only buy an outdated version from the Government Printing Office (GPO). A revised edition is published every ten years (the most recent one is dated 2002), with a pocket part issued every two years.
Since taxpayers pay for preparation of the Constitution Annotated, we should be able to get the latest version that is on the CRS website and not have to wait for the biannual pocket part.
Update: Perhaps the Congressional Research Accessibility Act (seen on beSpacific.com) H.R. 2545 sponsored by Rep. Christopher Shays can be amended to include the Constitution Annotated. I'll send this off to his office.