UC Law Journal


Ray Forrester


The United States Constitution is treated as a singular document in the study of law. In this Essay, Professor Forrester posits that there are actually four Constitutions, each sufficiently distinct to warrant treatment as an individual source of constitutional law.

The Essay presents a paradigm of four Constitutions: The "First" Constitution is the original, adopted in 1787; the Second Constitution is the Bill of Rights; the Third Constitution consists of the Civil War Amendments; and the Fourth Constitution is the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court. Professor Forrester believes that the significance of this Fourth Constitution can be appreciated only if treated as such by academia.

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