Constitutional Key Words

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Constitutionalism
The principle that the government operates within the understood rules of a constitution.
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Codification
This means that a constitution has been written down, normally in a single document, and is organised into a clear set of principles and rules.
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Entrenchment
This means that there are special arrangements in place for amending a constitution. It also implies that it is more difficult to change a constitution than it is to pass 'normal' laws.
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Supremacy
This principle establishes a constitution as the supreme authority within a state. It means that all laws and actions by state bodies must conform to the rules of the constitution.
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Flexibility
Where the rules that entrench a constitution are weak, the constitution is said to be flexible.
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Anti-constitutionalism
Actions that are likely to undermine the authority of the constitution and so may threaten the state itself.
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Unconstitutional Action
Any action by the legislature or government that contravenes the rules of the constitution may be declared unconstitutional, usually by the highest court in the state.
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Mixed Constitution
A term applied to the UK, which suggests a constitution that is partly democratic and partly based on traditional rules, particularly hereditary power.
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Organic Constitution
A conservative idea that a constitution should not be artificially created at one point in time, but should develop naturally alongside society in general.
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Liberal Constitution
Mainly a constitution that guarantees the rights of individuals and groups of citizens. It implies that the power of the government is limited by constitutional rules.
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Uncodified
This means that the constitution is not written in a single document. Therefore, instead of having just one source, it has several sources.
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Unentrenched
This means that constitutional laws are not superior to other laws and can be repealed, added to or amended by Parliament with a simple majority.
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Constitutional Monarchy
This means that the power of the monarchy is controlled by law and that some powers are used in the name of the Queen even though she does not exercise them herself.
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Parliamentary Sovereignty
This means that Parliament, not a constitution, is the ultimate source of all political authority. Parliament can do anything and cannot be constrained by constitutional rules.
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Unitary
Ultimate sovereignty lies in one place - Parliament. Powers devolved downwards can be taken back or overruled by Parliament.
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Rule of Law
This means that all are equal under the law and that the government is subject to the law and cannot act in an arbitrary fashion.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

This means that a constitution has been written down, normally in a single document, and is organised into a clear set of principles and rules.

Back

Codification

Card 3

Front

This means that there are special arrangements in place for amending a constitution. It also implies that it is more difficult to change a constitution than it is to pass 'normal' laws.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

This principle establishes a constitution as the supreme authority within a state. It means that all laws and actions by state bodies must conform to the rules of the constitution.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Where the rules that entrench a constitution are weak, the constitution is said to be flexible.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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