In an earlier blog post I described two commercial databases that support comparative constitutional law research, Constitutions of the Countries of the World and World Constitutions Illustrated. Now there is a new, open-access resource that permits comparative constitutional analysis as well, Google’s Constitute database.
Constitute allows the user to to identify and locate relevant text passages in most of the world’s constitutions by searching one of more of the more than 300 topics, such as “right to privacy.” The topics are listed in the expandable drawer on the left of the page. Alternatively, the user can see suggested topics while typing in the search bar (which also lets you perform free-text queries). It is also possible to filter results to include constitutions of a specific region, country, or time period, by using the buttons under the search bar. Finally, it is possible to download or print excerpts from multiple constitutions, by clicking the “pin” button next to each expanded passage you want to save. You can then view and download your pinned excerpts in the drawer on the right.
Alternatively, it is also possible to search Constitute by country. This is the option you would use to retrieve the entire constitution of a specific jurisdiction. Having retrieved the entire constitution, you can then choose to view it in HTML or to download a PDF of the document.
Constitute does not include historical constitutions or commentary about the constitutions included. However, it is a powerful search engine that facilitates quick comparisons of different constitutions. It also makes it possible to determine quickly how many constitutions have language on any given topic. Not bad for a free database!