How long has it been?

The Assembly Room at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

These days, everybody on Facebook and Twitter seems to be a constitutional scholar. I admit my own constitutional law chops are a little rusty — it’s been years since I first read the Constitution and Declaraction of Independence; not since junior-high-school history, really, and I’m pretty sure I skipped over the thornier sections of the Constitution.

If you’re like me and need a quick recap, I recommend this handy edition of those documents from Penguin Books’ “Civic Classics” series. Edited by Richard Beeman of the University of Pennsylvania, a member of the executive committee of the National Constitution Center (and a real constitutional scholar), the texts are well-annotated, and the volume itself is very attractive.

If you’re going to participate in this democracy, it’s probably a good idea to have the owner’s manual around. Good for gift-giving, too. I recommend you send one to him; he doesn’t seem to have read it, either.