This book explains things very well and provides a better understanding of the Masonic principles. Andrew Cunningham McLaughlin and Thomas McIntyre Cooley Online Pages English This book presents succinctly the general principle of constitutional law, whether they pertain to the federal system, or to the state system, or to both.
Beginning[ edit ] United States constitutional law defines the scope and application of the terms of the Constitution.
It covers areas of law such as the relationship between the federal government and state governments, the rights of individuals, and other fundamental aspects of the application of government authority in the Constitutional law llb States.
It is a field of law that is broad and complex. Some constitutional scholars maintain that the authors of the Constitution intended that it be vague and subject to interpretation so that it could be adapted to the needs of a changing society.
Others maintain that the provisions of the Constitution should be strictly construed and their provisions applied in a very literal manner. According to this jurisprudence, when the Court measures a law against the Constitution and finds the law wanting, the Court is empowered and indeed obligated to strike down that law.
In this role, for example, the Court has struck down state laws for failing to conform to the Contract Clause see, e. Woodward or the Equal Protection Clause see, e.
Board of Educationand it has invalidated federal laws for failing to arise under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution see, e.
This system of binding interpretations or precedents evolved from the common law system called " stare decisis "where courts are bound by their own prior decisions and by the decisions of higher courts. While neither English common law courts nor continental civil law courts generally had the power to declare legislation Constitutional law llb only the power to change lawthe United States Supreme Court has long been understood to have the power to declare federal or state legislation unconstitutional.
Prudential limits—the principles of justiciability[ edit ] Before deciding a constitutional question, the Supreme Court may consider whether the court can avoid the constitutional question by basing its decision on a non-constitutional issue at dispute.
For example, if a federal statute is on shaky constitutional footing but has been applied to the challenging party in a manner that does not implicate the basis for the constitutional claim, the Supreme Court will not decide whether the statute might be unconstitutional if it were applied differently.
Federal courts consider other doctrines before allowing a lawsuit to go forward: Mootness - a party is seeking redress over a case that no longer has a basis for dispute, though there are limited exceptions Political question - the issues raised in the suit are unreviewable because the Constitution relegates it to another branch of government.
Consistent with these doctrines, the Court considers itself prohibited from issuing advisory opinions where there is no actual case or controversy before them. United States, U.
These doctrines, because they apply to all federal cases whether of constitutional dimension or not, are discussed separately in the article on federal jurisdiction.
The Late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and current Associate Justice Clarence Thomas are known as originalists [ citation needed ]; originalism is a family of similar theories that hold that the Constitution has a fixed meaning from an authority contemporaneous with the ratification although opinion as to what that authority is varies; see discussion at originalismand that it should be construed in light of that authority.
Associate Justice Felix Frankfurter was a leading proponent of so-called judicial restraint ,[ citation needed ] in that he believed that the Supreme Court should not make law which, by invalidating or significantly altering the meaning of Congressional bills, Frankfurter felt they wereand so believers in this idea often vote not to grant cases the writ of certiorari.
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer generally advocates a quasi- purposivist approach,[ citation needed ] focusing on what the law was supposed to achieve rather than what it actually says, and measuring the possible outcomes of voting one way or another.
Other Justices have taken a more instrumentalist approach, believing it is the role of the Supreme Court to reflect societal changes. They often see the Constitution as a living, changing and adaptable document; thus their legal rationale will sometimes be in stark contrast to originalists.
Compare, for example, the differing opinions of Justices Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburgwho is a more instrumentalist justice. Debate continues over which, if any, of these interpretive strategies is "better". Complicating the analysis is the lack of direct correspondence between the various interpretive strategies and contemporary notions of "conservatism" or "liberalism".
Federalism[ edit ] In essence, the Constitution is a compromise between two extremes feared by the framers: The balance reached was the model of federalism: Supporters of federalism believed that a division of power between federal and state governments would decrease the likelihood of tyranny, which on a federal level would be much more concerning than its occurrence locally.
The framers felt the states were in the best position to restrict such movements. In order to create a cohesive government, the framers felt certain powers must have belonged to a centralized authority. Conducting foreign affairs, for example, would be severely curtailed if not embarked upon in a nationally uniform manner.
Similarly, a standardized currency was of prime importance for a robust and capable economy. As a result, the powers to raise armies, create treaties, and to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states, among others, were given to the federal government.
Powers granted by the Constitution to the federal government[ edit ] This section needs expansion.
You can help by adding to it.Article 20(1) of the constitution says, “ No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor he subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law .
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