The challenge in teaching Constitutional Law is to teach the doctrine while puncturing the myths. It is not an easy task. Americans treat the Constitution as a hallowed document created by men so divinely inspired that the document they produced in 1787 has been amended less than three dozen times. They might add that because of a number of factors, including those amendments, there are now only about 300 operative words in the Constitution, and that most litigation has centered about the meaning of a dozen or so terms: "due process," "cruel and unusual punishment," "commerce," "free exercise," "commander- in-chief," "free speech," and "equal protection." Whether or not intended by the Framers, these phrases have been rendered abstract, inscrutable, and ultimately indeterminate by generations of conflicting judicial interpretation.
Derrick Bell, Constitutional Conflicts: The Perils and Rewards of Pioneering in the Law School Classroom, 21 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 1039 (1998).