US and UK constitution comparison

Structure

  • The UK has an uncodified constitution where as the US has a codified constitution
  • The US sets out a strict separation of powers where as the UK has a fusion of powers
  • The US is a presidential constitution where as the UK has a parliamentary constitution
  • the US constitution has set out the numerous powers of Congress where as the powers of the UK parliament are harder to define, as they have grown through statute law, common law and conventions
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Content

  • In the UK, for a bill to become a law and therefore part of the Constitution, it just had to be passed through and voted on in Parliament whereas in the US, 2/3 of states and the Senate had to agree for the amendement to be added
  • Westminster Parliament is Sovereign in the UK and promotes unitary government, whereas the US Constitution promotes Federalism
  • The Supreme Court in the UK cannot declare primary legislation from Parliament as unconst where as the US Supreme Court can do this for any Executive Act or Act of Congress
  • whereas many Constitutional changes have happened in the UK in recent years, such as devolution and the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, amendements to the US Constitution has gained little support, with only 4/12 being approved in the HOR and none being agreed in the Senate since 1995
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Overall

  • although on the surface the codified nature of the US Const makes it seem rigid and hard to change, it can still be kept up to date with Supreme Court rulings like Obergefell vs. Hodges, which legalised same-sex marriage in the US. 
  • although the UK const is uncodified, many important acts are seen as impossible to remove, like devoution and Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, meaning they can be called entrenched. in these ways, it seems they are more similar than they apear initially
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