• Douglas Laycock
  • 2016 Constitution Week Conference
  • Foundations Slider
  • Dallan H. Oaks
  • Rebecca Lochhart

Summer's here, and the time is right, for reading up on the Constitutional Convention!

quill project visual

Deliberations on what would become the U.S. Constitution began on May 25, 1787, and proceeded through the hot Philadelphia summer until September 17. If you've wanted to read about these debates, there is no better way than over a parallel time-frame. Books we would recommend include James Madison's Notes, Max Farrand's classic The Framing of the Constitution of the United States, and Richard Beeman's more recent Plain Honest Men. And now, they can be supplemented with the most advanced tool for studying the convention, the web platform from the Oxford Quill Project. It allows users to precisely trace what debates were about and changes to the Constitution were made on any given day. It was designed by Professor Nicholas Cole of Oxford University (Senior Research Fellow, History), and was partly executed by our own CCS Wood Assistants Lance Merrell, Matthew Nolte, and Colten Sponseller. We are proud of the results and invite you to visit the Quill platform. It really is the best way to learn, "21st-century style," about the momentous summer of 1787. More details to come on our current work to also make the proceedings of Utah's Constitutional Convention  available on Quill.


2017 Constitutional Symposium on Religious Liberty

On April 6, 2017, the Center for Constitutional Studies hosted a conference regarding religious liberty. Scholars and public advocates representing a wide range of views participated on three panels: the first dealt with the issue of exemptions from general laws, including non-discrimination laws, on the ground of religious conscience; the second dealt with the establishment clause and school prayer; and the third examined political engagement by churches and religious leaders. The winners of the Dr. G. Kevin Jones Religious Liberty Essay Contest also presented their winning essays. The academic panels may be accessed through the Center’s video library. A highlight of the conference was the luncheon keynote address by Professor Douglas Laycock, this year’s recipient of the Center’s Friend of the Bill of Rights and Religious Liberty. Professor Laycock’s keynote address can be viewed here:



At minute 30, Elder Dallin H. Oaks pays tribute to Professor Laycock for his life’s work supporting religious liberty and equality. Professor Laycock follows with insightful remarks regarding the state of religious liberty in a world of changing values.