What is Constitutional Law?

Constitutional law is the set of laws that establish the role and structure of an organized group, such as a government or a church congregation. A constitutional law is more difficult to alter than a regular piece of legislation.


The Constitution also defines the basic rights of citizens and, in federal countries like the United States, defines the relationship between the federal and state governments. The Supreme Court interprets the Constitution and makes rulings on disputes involving its meaning.

Article IV

Article IV deals with the rights of citizens and the powers of state governments. It also outlines how new states can be admitted to the Union.

One of the most important parts of this article is the Privileges and Immunities clause, which ensures that all citizens have the same rights in every state. It also prevents states from discriminating against citizens from other states.

Another aspect of this article is the Extradition clause, which requires that criminals that flee to a different state be brought back to the state where they committed their crimes. This was important during the time of slavery in the United States, as it prevented slave owners from being able to escape their obligations to return their captives to them.

This article also includes the Fugitive Slave Act, which states that fugitive slaves must be returned to their owner. This law was passed in response to the growing number of escaped slaves, who were often being hunted down by federal authorities in several states at once. It was hoped that this legislation would help to put an end to this practice.

Lastly, this section contains the Constitutional authority to create general legislation that establishes how public acts, records and judicial proceedings are recognized across state lines. This was a vital solution to the problem caused by the old Articles of Confederation, which allowed each state to print its own currency, operate under different forms of government and have very different cultures and economies.

The Governor shall from time to time give to Congress Information of the State, and recommend such Measures as he thinks necessary and expedient; he may convene both Houses, or either of them, on extraordinary Occasions, and in Case of Disagreement between them with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, adjourn them to such Time as he may think proper; he may receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers, and commission all Officers not herein otherwise provided for; he may make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall have power to commission Judges of the Supreme Court and all other inferior officers.

In addition, this article contains the requirement that all members of Congress, and state legislators and executives, take an oath to support the Constitution. However, it does not require that any religion be practiced as a condition of holding these positions. This was a critical change from the Articles of Confederation, which required religious tests for all state officials. This helped to ensure that the Constitution would be supported by a broad range of people.

Article V

Article V establishes procedures for amending the Constitution. This is important, because it ensures that constitutional amendments are proposed and ratified in a way that is consistent with the original meaning of the Constitution. The amendment process is also designed to protect basic rights, civil liberties and human dignity. The Framers of the Constitution debated these issues at length, and they incorporated the results into the Constitution itself.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

This clause is known as the Supremacy Clause, and it guarantees that federal laws take precedence over state laws. It also enshrines the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. In addition, this clause provides that laws made in violation of the Constitution are void. The Framers of the Constitution included this clause to ensure that state governments would not attempt to pass laws inconsistent with federal laws.

Every Person charged with Treason, Felony or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up to that State, which may have Jurisdiction thereof. The Supreme Court has ruled that this clause applies to all cases, regardless of whether the case involves a federal or state crime. This clause is a major part of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees that everyone will receive equal and fair treatment under the law.

The President of the United States shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for. He shall make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senate present concur therein. He shall lay down general Rules and Regulations for the Government of the United States, and publish them in time of War; and when not in War, he shall give a Copy to each State Secretary.

Convention proponents argue that limiting languages in state laws can provide protection against the kind of runaway convention that occurred at the last constitutional convention. But the fact is, there is nothing that prevents delegates from creating a totally new document at a convention. Instead, it is important to ensure that the convention’s policy intentions are firmly grounded in the principles established by the Constitution and previous Supreme Court decisions.