What is constitutionality? It is the question of how certain conduct is consistent with the United States Constitution, which is why we refer to it as our constitutional law. A constitution is a collective body of principles or established precedents which constitute the basic legal foundation of a nation, state or other kind of political entity and as such determine how that particular entity is to be legally governed. A constitution must be construed to avoid the possibility of its being inconsistent with the federal government. This is why a court of law is called into session each instance that one of these questions arises.
The First Congress assembled at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War put together a document known as the Constitution of the United States of America. Its purpose was to form a document by which each state could undertake to govern itself. Although the Constitution does not comprise a written document, it does reflect the thinking and feelings of the American people through the use of words such as “self-government,” “checks and balances,” and “checks and balances.”
The question as to what is constitutionality arises when a group of citizens disagree about a topic, and they want it to have legal validity. Two different types of groups may pursue this end. One may be trying to interpret the Constitution in order to impose its own interpretation on the American people. The other may be trying to protect the text from outside interference. One way to protect the text is for the courts to construe it according to what they believe the people intended.
Interpretation is a tricky business. The text of the Constitution is highly complicated and the interpretations that the Supreme Court offers in cases involving significant societal concerns can become muddled. For example, when interpreting the Constitution in order to prevent racial discrimination, the Court has been required to decide between what the text of the Constitution clearly allows and what it does not. When deciding between what is federal law and what is state law, the Court has been obliged to analyze both texts at the same time. Because of all of these considerations, it is extremely difficult for any group to give a precise definition of what is constitution. The ten amendments that form the original Constitution also require the Court to interpret the Constitution subject to their own decisions and interpretations.
The original meaning of the text of the Constitution was obviously not what today’s critics would have you believe. The Framers certainly did not think that the Constitution contained an ‘omniscient’ or universal rule. If nothing else, the fact that the text refers to two distinct objects (the States and the Federal government) gives judges and attorneys additional flexibility than what is required by a strict constructionist approach.
The difficulty in interpreting what is constitution grew, during the nineteenth century, with the First International Conference in Paris. At this meeting, diplomats from Europe were allowed to participate in a constitutional debate. Although these nations had been part of a great confederacy for centuries, the new language, French, meant that every different government was treating its citizens as foreigners. With the First Conference, the US began to treat all men equally under the Bill of Rights. It is with this in mind that judges are still asked to interpret the same text that they were required to fifty years earlier.
Today’s social and political environment requires us to apply our interpretive skills to what is constitution as we see it. The text of the Constitution is written in indecipherable legalese, with impenetrable references to stare decisions and commissions. Judges are expected to read the text of the Constitution by deducing its meaning from what it says and not by following the lead of Congress and the administrative agencies that created it. This is a tall order for a common man, who is trying to understand the meaning of some obscure law.
Fortunately, there are great interpreters who understand that the text of the Constitution is not simple to interpret. They have been hired by special interest groups, such as those representing religious groups or big businesses, to interpret what is constitution so that the people can properly regulate their government. An example of such an interpreter is the American International Law Association. Their mission is “to promote world prosperity, freedom, security and the rule of law through effective and timely interpretation of international legal documents”.