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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 ?
But don't give us the absurd notion that it is unconstitutional when the Constitution itself mandates it in certain cases.
Subsection 2 of Clause 1 of Article 13 of the House of Representatives elections bill was deemed unconstitutional for failing to explicitly ban the use of religious slogans in campaigning.
Former Controller Bill Thompson stopped short of calling the surveillance unconstitutional, but strongly condemned it.
The PML-N believes in the supremacy of law and the Constitution and will continue to oppose every unconstitutional and illegal measure, he added.
The Iraqi Parliament voted on Thursday in majority for Adel Abdul Mehdi, Tariq Al-Hashimi and Khudhair Al-Khuza'i as vice president in one basket, at a time the observers believed that this move is unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court declared these fair and balanced laws unconstitutional in 1992.
Second, she asserted that the award was not "income" under the "16th Amendment and that taxation of it was unconstitutional.
Her ruling states: "Maintenance of this Latin Cross as it is on the property in question, is found to be an unconstitutional preference of religion in violation of Article I, Section 4, of the California Constitution, and the transfer of the memorial with the cross as its centerpiece to the federal government to save the cross as it is, where it is, is an unconstitutional aid to religion in violation of Article XVI, Section 5.
That was the holding of the Supreme Court when it found a line-item veto statute unconstitutional in 1998's Clinton v.
The parents claim the practices violate a 2003 University of Michigan judgment affirming that racial quotas in college admissions are unconstitutional.
Eugene O'Flaherty (D-Chelsea) is spearheading a push to eliminate parts of a new DUI bill that he and other legislators say are unconstitutional.