unconstitutional | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Procedural Law

In the procedural law context, unconstitutional refers to a legal action or law that violates the U.S. Constitution and therefore is deemed invalid.

Unconstitutional is a term used in the procedural law context to describe a legal action or law that violates the United States Constitution. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land and outlines the fundamental rights and protections that individuals are entitled to under the law. Any law or legal action that violates these fundamental rights is considered unconstitutional and, therefore, invalid.

In the procedural law context, the term unconstitutional is often used to challenge the constitutionality of a law or legal action, such as a search or seizure, arrest, or trial. If a court determines that a law or legal action violates the Constitution, it will declare it unconstitutional and, therefore, unenforceable.

The concept of constitutionality is based on the principle of judicial review, which gives courts the power to interpret the Constitution and determine whether a law or legal action is constitutional or not. The Supreme Court of the United States is the final arbiter of the Constitution and has the authority to strike down laws or legal actions that it deems unconstitutional.

Unconstitutionality can arise in many different areas of the law, including criminal law, civil law, and administrative law. For example, a criminal law that imposes cruel and unusual punishment would be considered unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. Similarly, a civil law that violates the First Amendment right to free speech would also be deemed unconstitutional.

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Last Modified: 03/14/2023


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