Constitutional convention are rules of political practice which are regards as building by those to whom to apply, but which are not enforced by the court or by the house of parliament, explain.

Constitutional convention are rules of political practice which are regards as building by those to whom to apply, but which are not enforced by the court or by the house of parliament, explain.

A constitutional convention is now a gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution or revising an existing constitution. A general constitutional convention is called to create the first constitution of a political unit or to entirely replace an existing constitution. An unlimited constitutional convention is called to revise an existing constitution to the extent that it deems to be proper, whereas a limited constitutional convention is restricted to revising only the areas of the current constitution named in the convention’s call, the legal mandate establishing the convention. Examples of constitutional conventions include:

United States: Annapolis Convention (1786), which proposed what became the Philadelphia Convention (1787) – Drafted the United States Constitution for ratification by the states. Article V of the constitution sets forth a mechanism whereby future constitutional conventions can be held. The constitution has been amended several times since the Philadelphia Convention, but never (as of 2011) by this method.


[1] Harper, Douglas. “Constitution”. Online Etymology Dictionary.

[1] Frank Easterbrook, Daniel R. Fischel. ‘The Structure of Constitution’ (1996)

France: The National Convention of 1792 (commonly referred to as The Convention) convened during The French Revolution on September 20 with the purpose of writing a Republican Constitution following the suspension of the French Monarchy. The monarchy was officially abolished on September 21 by The Convention.

Constitutional conventions have also been used by constituent states of federations — such as the individual states of the United States — to create, replace, or revise their own constitutions. Though the several states have never held a national constitutional convention for the purpose of proposing amendments, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified not by the state legislatures, but by state level conventions after it was passed by Congress, as described as an alternate method of ratification in Article V of the US Constitution.

The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district. The country is situated mostly in central North America, where its forty-eight contiguous states and Washington, D.C., the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south.

[1] Phillip I. Blumberg, The Multinational Challenge to Constitutional Convention: The Search for a New Corporate Personality, (1993) has a very good discussion of the controversial nature of additional rights being granted to corporations.

[1] Hansmann et al., The Anatomy of Constitution (2004) Ch.1, p.2; See also, C. A. Cooke, Corporation, Trust and Company: A Legal History, (1950).

At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) and with over 308 million people, the United States is the third or fourth largest country by total area, and the third largest both by land area and population. It is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The U.S. economy is the world’s largest national economy, with an estimated 2010 GDP of $14.799 trillion (23% of nominal global GDP and 20% of global GDP at purchasing power parity).

Indigenous peoples of Asian origin have inhabited what is now the mainland United States for many thousands of years. This Native American population was greatly reduced by disease and warfare after European contact. The United States was founded by thirteen British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. On July 4, 1776, they issued the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed their right to self-determination and their establishment of a cooperative union. The rebellious states defeated the British Empire in the American Revolution, the first successful colonial war of independence. The current United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787; its ratification the following year made the states part of a single republic with a strong federal government. The Bill of Rights, comprising ten constitutional amendments guaranteeing many fundamental civil rights and freedoms, was ratified in 1791.

[1] Black’s Law and lee Dictionary. Second Pocket Edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor. West. 2001.

[1] Constitutional Act 2006[1] Black’s Law and lee Dictionary. Second Pocket Edition. Bryan A. Garner, editor. West. 2001.

Through the 19th century, the United States displaced native tribes, acquired land from France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Russia, and annexed the Republic of Texas and the Republic of Hawaii. Disputes between the agrarian South and industrial North over the expansion of the institution of slavery and states’ rights provoked the American Civil War of the 1860s. The North’s victory prevented a permanent split of the country and led to the end of legal slavery in the United States. By the 1870s, the national economy was the world’s largest. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country’s status as a military power. It emerged from World War II as the first country with nuclear weapons and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union left the United States as the sole superpower. The country accounts for 43% of global military spending and is a leading economic, political, and cultural force in the world.

Generally, every modern written constitution confers specific powers to an organization or institutional entity, established upon the primary condition that it abides by the said constitution’s limitations. According to Scott Gordon, a political organization is constitutional to the extent that it “contain[s] institutionalized mechanisms of power control for the protection of the interests and liberties of the citizenry, including those that may be in the minority.”

[1] ”Constitution.” Crystal Reference Encyclopedia. Crystal Reference Systems Limited. 27 Nov. 2007.

The Latin term ultra vires describes activities of officials within an organization or polity that fall outside the constitutional or statutory authority of those officials. For example, a students’ union may be prohibited as an organization from engaging in activities not concerning students; if the union becomes involved in non-student activities these activities are considered ultra vires of the union’s charter, and nobody would be compelled by the charter to follow them. An example from the constitutional law of sovereign states would be a provincial government in a federal state trying to legislate in an area exclusively enumerated to the federal government in the constitution, such as ratifying a treaty. Ultra vires gives a legal justification for the forced cessation of such action, which might be enforced by the people with the support of a decision of the judiciary, in a case of judicial review. A violation of rights by an official would be ultra vires because a (constitutional) right is a restriction on the powers of government, and therefore that official would be exercising powers he doesn’t have.

In most but not all modern states the constitution has supremacy over ordinary statute law (see Uncodified constitution below); in such states when an official act is unconstitutional, i.e. it is not a power granted to the government by the constitution, that act is null and void, and the nullification is ab initio, that is, from inception, not from the date of the finding. It was never “law”, even though, if it had been a statute or statutory provision, it might have been adopted according to the procedures for adopting legislation. Sometimes the problem is not that a statute is unconstitutional, but the application of it is, on a particular occasion, and a court may decide that while there are ways it could be applied that are constitutional, that instance was not allowed or legitimate. In such a case, only the application may be ruled unconstitutional. Historically, the remedy for such violations have been petitions for common law writs, such as quo warranto.

Copyright infringement, or copyright violation, is the unauthorized use of works covered by copyright law, in a way that violates one of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works.

For electronic and audio-visual media under copyright, unauthorized reproduction and distribution is also commonly referred to as piracy. An early reference to piracy in the context of copyright infringement was made by Daniel Defoe in 1703 when he said of his novel The True-Born Englishman “Had I wrote it for the gain of the press, I should have been concerned at its being printed again and again by PIRATES, as they call them, and PARAGRAPHMEN: but if they do justice, and print it true, according to the copy, they are welcome to sell it for a penny, if they please: the pence, indeed, is the end of their works.” The practice of labeling the act of infringement as “piracy” predates statutory copyright law. Prior to the Statute of Anne 1709, the Stationers’ Company of London in 1557 received a Royal Charter giving the company a monopoly on publication and tasking it with enforcing the charter. Those who violated the charter were labeled pirates as early as 1603.

Although judicial review has now become an established part of constitutional law in the United States, there are some who disagree with the doctrine.

At the Constitutional Convention, neither proponents nor opponents of judicial review disputed that any government based on a written constitution requires some mechanism to prevent laws that violate that constitution from being made and enforced. Otherwise, the document would be meaningless, and the legislature, with the power to enact any laws whatsoever, would be the supreme arm of government (the British doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty). The delegates at the Convention differed with respect to the question of whether Congress or the judiciary should make determinations regarding constitutionality of statutes. Hamilton addressed this in Federalist No. 78, in which he explained the reasons that the federal judiciary has the role of reviewing the constitutionality of statutes:

If it be said that the legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers, and that the construction they put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments, it may be answered, that this cannot be the natural presumption, where it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution. It is not otherwise to be supposed, that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their will to that of their constituents. It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority.

Since the adoption of the Constitution, some have argued that the power of judicial review gives the courts the ability to impose their own views of the law, without an adequate check from any other branch of government. Robert Yates, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention from New York, argued during the ratification process in the Anti-Federalist Papers that the courts would use the power of judicial review loosely to impose their views about the “spirit” of the Constitution:

In their decisions they will not confine themselves to any fixed or established rules, but will determine, according to what appears to them, the reason and spirit of the constitution. The opinions of the supreme court, whatever they may be, will have the force of law; because there is no power provided in the constitution, that can correct their errors, or control their adjudications. From this court there is no appeal.[53]

In 1820, Thomas Jefferson expressed his deep reservations about the doctrine of judicial review:

You seem … to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps…. Their power [is] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln touched upon the same subject, during his first inaugural address:

He candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there in this view any assault upon the court or the judges. It is a duty from which they may not shrink to decide cases properly brought before them, and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes.

Lincoln was alluding here to the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, in which the Court had struck down a federal statute for the first time since Marbury v. Madison.

It has been argued that the judiciary is not the only branch of government that may interpret the meaning of the Constitution. Article VI requires federal and state officeholders to be bound “by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution.” It has been argued that such officials may follow their own interpretations of the Constitution, at least until those interpretations have been tested in court.