digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Constitutionality is the condition of acting in accordance with an applicable constitution;[1] the status of a law, a procedure, or an act's accordance with the laws or guidelines set forth in the applicable constitution. When one of these (laws, procedures, or acts) directly violates the constitution it is unconstitutional. All the rest are considered constitutional until challenged and declared otherwise.


An act (or statute) enacted as law either by a national legislature or by the legislature of a subordinate level of government (such as a state or province) may be declared unconstitutional.

However, governments do not just create laws. Governments also enforce the laws set forth in the document defining the government—in the Constitution. In the United States, the failure to seat duly elected representatives of the people following a proper election, or the failure to provide for such elections would be unconstitutional even in the absence of any legislated laws whatsoever.

When the proper court determines that a legislative act (a law) conflicts with the constitution, it finds that law unconstitutional and declares it void in whole or in part. This is called judicial review. The portion of the law declared void is considered struck down, or the entire statute is considered struck from the statute books.

Depending on the type of legal system, a statute may be declared unconstitutional by any court, or only by special Constitutional courts with authority to rule on the validity of a statute. In some countries, the legislature may create any law for any purpose, and there is no provision for courts to declare a law unconstitutional. This can occur either because the country has no codified constitution that laws must conform to (e.g., the United Kingdom and New Zealand) or because the country does have a codified constitution but no court has the authority to strike down laws on the basis of it (e.g., the Netherlands and Switzerland).

In many jurisdictions the supreme court or constitutional court is the final legal arbiter that renders an opinion on whether a law or an action of a government official is constitutional. Most constitutions define the powers of government. Thus, national constitutions typically apply only to government actions. This means that only governments can violate the nation's constitution, but there are exceptions.

A constitutional violation is thus somewhat different from the breaking of a normal law, both in terms of seriousness and punishment. Declaring a law unconstitutional does not result in the punishment of those who passed it down.

The legal encyclopedia American Jurisprudence says the following in regard to constitutionality:

The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and the name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void and ineffective for any purpose since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it; an unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed ... An unconstitutional law is void. (16 Am. Jur. 2d, Sec. 178)

A law in violation of an existing statute can be described as unstatutable.[2]

Examples of unconstitutional actions[edit]

Some examples of unconstitutional actions can be:

  • A politician who abuses or acts outside of the powers of his constitutionally-established office
  • A legislature that tries to pass a law that contradicts the constitution without using the proper constitutional amendment process
  • Any person who acts on behalf of the government who tries to prevent an individual from exercising constitutionally protected individual rights (such as the right to vote or to practice religion)

Unconstitutional laws in the United States[edit]

Much debate often surrounds controversial laws enacted by state legislatures and the United States Congress regarding the laws' constitutionality. Some of the controversialists against particular acts in the 19th century proposed protecting the people by applying the Principles of '98.

There are different forms of constitutions. The United States Constitution is a "rigid constitution". Rigid constitutions cannot be modified in their express terms, except through such processes the constitution itself ordain.


See also[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutionality — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
14020 videos foundNext > 

Debating the Constitutionality of the Federal Health Care Legislation 11-18-10

The Federalist Society's Litigation Practice Group hosted this panel discussion on "Debating the Constitutionality of the Federal Health Care Legislation" at...

Attorneys Debate Constitutionality, Legality on Prop 8 Case

As the Supreme Court considers arguments on the definition of marriage, and the legal and societal implications of same-sex marriage, Gwen Ifill moderates a ...

Fox News Bias on Health Law Constitutionality?

160+ Fox News Bias videos at http://bit.ly/FoxNewsBias More Fox News bias on health care reform at http://bit.ly/nj4E4i Fox News bias on health care reform, ...

American Tradition Institute Colorado Lawsuit, Part 2 - Constitutionality

On April 4, 2011, American Tradition Institute, American Tradition Partnership and plaintiff Rod Lueck sued the State of Colorado and several officials over ...

SC upholds constitutionality of RH Bill

Anthony Taberna discusses the decision of the Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the controversial Reproductive Health Law. Subscribe to the AB...

Constitutionality of Abolishing LWOP of Juvenile Lifers

Interview with Paul Wallace, Chief of Appeals of Delaware Department of Justice, on the constitutionality of abolishing life without parole of juvenile lifers.

Poland to review constitutionality of kosher ban: Jewish groups horrified by ritual slaughter ban

Poland will set up a committee to investigate whether it is possible to re-establish ritual Jewish slaughter in Poland, because the current ban might actuall...

The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate 1-7-11

This luncheon debate took place on January 7, 2011, at the Federalist Society's 13th Annual Faculty Conference in San Francisco. Friday, January 7, 2011 12:1...

Lee Questions Constitutionality of ObamaCare

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) questions the constitutionality of ObamaCare during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, focusing his remarks on the U.S. Constitutio...

The Questionable Constitutionality of Dodd-Frank (U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett)

http://www.cato.org/events/questionable-constitutionality-dodd-frank Featuring Rep. Scott Garrett, Chairman of the Congressional Constitution Caucus, Chairma...

14020 videos foundNext > 

We're sorry, but there's no news about "Constitutionality" right now.


Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Constitutionality

You can talk about Constitutionality with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!