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Constitutional law

Constitutional law is generally the interpretation and application of the United States Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, and supersedes (preempts) all state laws on matters in which the U.S. Constitution grants the federal government authority. The Constitution is the foundation of the U.S. legal system, and defines (enumerates) the powers of the three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial) and each branch’s oversight of the others. The Constitution also defines the relationships between states; between states and the federal government; and between individuals and the state and federal governments.

The Constitution may be amended as provided by Article V, and the first ten amendments were ratified by the states in 1791 and are known as the Bill of Rights.

Constitutional law may also be a reference to state constitutions, but when not specifically indicated, it is considered a reference to the U.S. Constitution.

In Texas, as in all states, constitutional law primarily refers to the interpretation and application of the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. The U.S. Constitution takes precedence over any state laws in areas where the federal government has been granted authority. It outlines the powers and functions of the federal government's three branches—legislative, executive, and judicial—and establishes checks and balances among them. Additionally, the Constitution delineates the relationships between the states, between states and the federal government, and between individuals and both levels of government. Amendments to the Constitution are possible through the process outlined in Article V, with the first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, being particularly significant in protecting individual liberties. While Texas has its own state constitution, which governs the state's laws and government, it must always comply with the U.S. Constitution. When discussing constitutional law without specifying, it is generally understood to refer to the U.S. Constitution.



Texas Statutes & Rules

Federal Statutes & Rules

U.S. Constitution, Article I
Article I of the U.S. Constitution establishes the legislative branch of the federal government, the U.S. Congress, and enumerates its powers.

Article I of the United States Constitution creates the legislative branch, which is divided into two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. It outlines the structure, powers, and limitations of Congress. Key provisions include the Necessary and Proper Clause, which grants Congress the power to make all laws necessary for executing its enumerated powers, and the Commerce Clause, which grants Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.

U.S. Constitution, Article II
Article II of the U.S. Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, which is headed by the President.

Article II of the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch and outlines the powers and duties of the President. It includes provisions for the election of the President through the Electoral College, the qualifications for office, and the procedures for presidential succession. Article II also grants the President the power to sign or veto legislation, command the armed forces, grant pardons, and make treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate.

U.S. Constitution, Article III
Article III of the U.S. Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal government, which is headed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Article III of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch, which includes the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as Congress may establish. It outlines the jurisdiction of the federal courts and guarantees trial by jury in criminal cases. Article III also includes the Treason Clause, which defines treason against the United States and outlines the strict evidentiary requirements for a conviction of treason.

U.S. Constitution, Article IV
Article IV of the U.S. Constitution outlines the duties states have to each other and the responsibilities of the federal government towards the states.

Article IV of the United States Constitution addresses the relationships between the states and the federal government. It includes the Full Faith and Credit Clause, which requires states to respect the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of other states. It also addresses the admission of new states, the protection against invasion and domestic violence, and the guarantee of a republican form of government for every state.

U.S. Constitution, Article V
Article V of the U.S. Constitution outlines the process for amending the Constitution.

Article V of the United States Constitution provides the procedures for amending the Constitution. Amendments can be proposed either by Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures. To become effective, proposed amendments must be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

U.S. Constitution, Article VI
Article VI of the U.S. Constitution establishes the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and addresses federal power and debts.

Article VI of the United States Constitution establishes that the Constitution, and federal laws made pursuant to it, constitute the supreme law of the land, taking precedence over state laws. It also includes the Supremacy Clause, which asserts the preeminence of federal law over state laws and constitutions. Additionally, Article VI requires all federal and state officers to take an oath to support the Constitution.

U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10)
The Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution and guarantees fundamental rights and protections to individuals.

The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These amendments guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public. Notable amendments include the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition), the Fourth Amendment (protection against unreasonable searches and seizures), and the Eighth Amendment (prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment).

Is the Third Amendment Still Relevant in 2023?
While some Constitutional Amendments, like the Second and Fourteenth, have been making headlines in the current decade, the Third Amendment is mostly overlooked in pop culture today.