The most fundamental law of a country or state. The term is capitalized only when referring to a specific constitution (e.g., U.S. Constitution, Texas Constitution, etc.).
Historically, a constitution did not need to be a single written document. Instead, the term might simply refer to the general structure of a certain government regardless of how it arose or evolved.
Increasingly, "constitution" refers to a single written document that explicitly creates government institutions, defines the scope of government power, and guarantees certain civil liberties. This is how the term gets used under U.S. law.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
The fundamental, underlying document which establishes the government of a nation or state.The United States Constitution, originally adopted in convention on September 17, 1787, ratified by the states in 1788, and thereafter amended 27 times, is the prime example of such a document; however, states also have constitutions.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:13 pm