The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. If a law (or government action) violates the Constitution, a court may rule that the law is unconstitutional – – meaning that the law or action is invalid.
For example, if Congress enacts a law, a person affected by the law may challenge the constitutionality of the law in court. Courts have the power of judicial review. Judicial review is the court’s power to determine whether a law is constitutional or not. Judicial review is an “implied” power because it is not expressly written in the Constitution.
The Supreme Court held that the law was unconstitutional because it violated the cruel and unusual punishments clause of Amendment 8.
Plaintiff challenged the regulation as unconstitutional because it denied him his right to earn a living.
The Supreme Court applied the rational basis test to determine whether the law was unconstitutional or not.« Back to Glossary Index