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adj. referring to a statute, governmental conduct, court decision or private contract (such as a covenant which purports to limit transfer of real property only to Caucasians) which violate one or more provisions of the U. S. Constitution. The ultimate determination of constitutionality is the United States Supreme Court. Unconstitutional can also refer to violations of a state constitution. (See: constitution, supreme court)

See: illegal, illicit, impermissible, unauthorized, unlawful

UNCONSTITUTIONAL. That which is contrary to the constitution.
     2. When an act of the legislature is repugnant or contrary to the constitution, it is, ipso facto, void. 2 Pet. R. 522; 12 Wheat. 270; 3 Dall. 286; 4 Dall. 18.
     3. The courts have the power, and it is their duty, when an act is unconstitutional, to declare it to be so; but this will not be done except in a clear case and, as an additional guard against error, the supreme court of the United States refuses to take up a case involving constitutional questions, when the court is not full. 9 Pet. 85. Vide 6 Cranch, 128; 1 Binn. 419; 5 Binn. 355; 2 Penna 184; 3 S. & R. 169; 7 Pick. 466; 13 Pick. 60; 2 Yeates, 493; 1 Virg. Cas. 20; 1 Blackf. 206 6 Rand. 245 1 Murph. 58; Harper, 385 1 Breese, 209 Pr. Dee. 64, 89; 1 Rep. Cons. Ct. 267 1 Car. Law Repos. 246 4 Munr. 43; 5 Hayw. 271; 1 Cowen, 550; 1 South. 192; 2 South. 466; 7 N H. Rep. 65, 66; 1 Chip, 237, 257; 10 Conn. 522; 7 Gill & John. 7; 2 Litt. 90; 3 Desaus. 476.

References in periodicals archive ?
He called this an unconstitutional diversion of tax aid to religion.
Schiavo to reverse a lower court ruling that struck down "Terri's Law" as unconstitutional.
Bush's "No Child Left Behind" act would never have gotten past the Senate, nor would numerous other unconstitutional acts of Congress since 1913 that have sent centralized federal power sky rocketing, if the Senate actually represented the state governments.
Noting that 13 of the counts for which Kreutzer was convicted were now unconstitutional, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Barry A.
Hood ruled in July of 2000 that the display would be unconstitutional.
The brief states that "the state supreme court's construction of the Florida Constitution to produce such a ruling renders that state constitution, as applied, unconstitutional under the federal constitution .
Opponents of the law said it was clearly unconstitutional and made it impossible for people accused of old sex crimes to properly defend themselves.
A pretrial detainee brought a [section] 1983 action against a county sheriff and two jail employees, alleging confinement in unconstitutional conditions.
Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit voted 2-to-1 upholding a lower court decision declaring the poster unconstitutional.
That this resolution is blatantly unconstitutional precisely reflects my own feelings as expressed vainly in letters to the Washington Post, the Washington Times, my two senators, and my congressman--namely, that Congress cannot legislatively grant to the president powers that he does not possess under the Constitution.
The entanglements involved here between religion and the state are not only excessive in themselves, but they have the unconstitutional effect of endorsing and advancing religion," Gershon said in Yarmeisch v.