Dictionary of Law

constitutional rights :: legal definition

Constitutional rights - n. rights given or reserved to the people by the U.S. Constitution, and in particular, the Bill of Rights (first ten amendments). These rights include: writ of habeas corpus, no bill of attainder, no duties or taxes on transporting goods from one state to another (Article I, Section 9); jury trials (Article III, Section 1); freedom of religion, speech, press (which includes all media), assembly and petition (First Amendment); state militia to bear arms (Second Amendment); no quartering of troops in homes (Third Amendment); no unreasonable search and seizure (Fourth Amendment); major ("capital and infamous") crimes require indictment, no double jeopardy (more than one prosecution) for the same crime, no self-incrimination, right to due process, right to just compensation for property taken by eminent domain (Fifth Amendment); in criminal law, right to a speedy trial, to confront witnesses against one, and to counsel (Sixth Amendment); trial by jury (Seventh Amendment); right to bail, no excessive fines, and no cruel and unusual punishments (Eighth Amendment); unenumerated rights are reserved to the people (Ninth Amendment); equal protection of the laws (14th Amendment); no racial bars to voting (15th Amendment); no sex bar to voting (19th Amendment); and no poll tax (24th Amendment). Constitutional interpretation has expanded and added nuances to these rights.

See also: Bill of Rights constitution and Related Law Terms ↓

Related Law Terms

abuse of discretion :: n. a polite way of saying a trial judge has made s ... partner's realistic ability to pay.
administrative law :: n. the procedures created by administrative agenci ... judge Administrative Procedure Act
admiralty :: n. concerning activities which occur at sea, inclu ... "proctors." See also: maritime law
adoption :: n. the taking of a child into one's family, creati ... the child are met. See also: adopt
advisory opinion :: n. an opinion stated by a judge or a court upon th ... o: actual controversy friendly suit
amended pleading :: n. a changed written pleading in a lawsuit, includ ... o: amend amended complaint demurrer
American Bar Association :: n. the largest organization of American lawyers, w ... go, IL 60611; tel.: (312) 988-5522.
antitrust laws :: n. acts adopted by Congress to outlaw or restrict ... so: price fixing restraint of trade
appeal :: 1) v. to ask a higher court to reverse the decisio ... ng, as in "he has filed an appeal."
arrest :: v. 1) to take or hold a suspected criminal with le ... anda warning probable cause warrant
article :: n. a paragraph or section of any writing such as e ... or different sections of a statute.
articles of impeachment :: n. the charges brought (filed) to impeach a public ... y the Senate. See also: impeachment
articles of incorporation :: n. the basic charter of a corporation which spells ... year's taxes. See also: corporation
attorney :: n. 1) an agent or someone authorized to act for an ... ialize. See also: court reciprocity
Attorney General :: n. in each state and the federal government the hi ... izenry. See also: Solicitor General
attractive nuisance doctrine :: n. a legal doctrine which makes a person negligent ... ch make negligence harder to prove.
Bachelor of Laws :: n. the degree in law from a law school, abbreviate ... troactively. See also: Juris Doctor
bankruptcy :: n. a federal system of statutes and courts which p ... y proceedings trustee in bankruptcy
bar examination :: n. the examination given in each state by either t ... n that district. See also: attorney
Bill of Rights :: n. the first ten amendments to the federal Constit ... ved to the states or to the people.
brief :: 1) n. a written legal argument, usually in a forma ... another person. See also: precedent
capital offense :: n. any criminal charge which is punishable by the ... . See also: bail capital punishment
certificate of incorporation :: n. document which some states issue to prove a cor ... the articles are sufficient proof.
charge :: n. 1) in a criminal case, the specific statement o ... trial judge. 3) a fee for services.
child custody :: n. a court's determination of which parent, relati ... pport custody divorce joint custody
civil :: adj. 1) that part of the law that encompasses busi ... also: civil liberties civil rights
civil law :: n. 1) a body of laws and legal concepts which come ... generic term for non-criminal law.
civil rights :: n. those rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, ... ill of Rights civil civil liberties
color of law :: n. the appearance of an act being performed based ... xtort payoffs to forget the ticket.
comity :: n. when one court defers to the jurisdiction of an ... of cases to which comity may apply.
common law :: n. the traditional unwritten law of England, based ... plied without reference to statute.
community property :: n. property and profits received by a husband and ... and distribution separate property
confess :: v. in criminal law, to voluntarily state that one ... Miranda warning self-incrimination
conflict of law :: n. a situation in which both state and federal law ... y arose. See also: forum preemption
constitution :: n. the fundamental, underlying document which esta ... ts common law constitutional rights
consumer protection laws :: n. almost all states and the federal government ha ... rranty product liability securities
controlling law :: n. the laws of the state which will be relied upon ... will be that of a particular state.
copyright :: 1) n. the exclusive right of the author or creator ... plagiarism public domain trademark
corporation :: n. an organization formed with state governmental ... ation public corporation securities
corpus juris :: n. the body of the law, meaning a compendium of al ... lanations of the law of that state.
counterclaim :: n. a retaliatory claim by a defendant against a pl ... d. See also: answer cross-complaint
court :: n. 1) the judge, as in "The court rules in favor o ... cost and wait of full court trials.
crime of passion :: n. a defendant's excuse for committing a crime due ... dant. See also: manslaughter murder
demurrer :: n. (dee-muhr-ur) a written response to a complaint ... demurrer. See also: motion pleading
descent :: n. the rules of inheritance established by law in ... on inheritance intestate succession
directed verdict :: n. a verdict by a jury based on the specific direc ... element judgment jury trial verdict
discrimination :: n. unequal treatment of persons, for a reason whic ... qual rights. See also: civil rights
double jeopardy :: n. placing someone on trial a second time for an o ... that occurred thirty years earlier.
dower :: n. an old English common law right of a widow to o ... t and distribution widow's election
due process of law :: n. a fundamental principle of fairness in all lega ... procedural and substantive rights.
eminent domain :: n. the power of a governmental entity (federal, st ... ngs. See also: condemn condemnation
equal opportunity :: 1) n. a right supposedly guaranteed by both federa ... be so. See also: affirmative action
equal protection of the law :: n. the right of all persons to have the same acces ... laws." See also: due process of law
equity :: n. 1) a venerable group of rights and procedures t ... ry enjoin equitable injunction writ
error :: n. a mistake by a judge in procedure or in substan ... or. See also: harmless error remand
estate tax :: n. generally a federal tax on the transfer of a de ... commonly called an inheritance tax.
ex post facto :: adj. Latin for "after the fact," which refers to l ... ted before the new law was adopted.
exclusionary rule :: n. the rule that evidence secured by illegal means ... e poisonous tree motion to suppress
extradition :: n. the surrender by one state or country of a pers ... ty. See also: fugitive from justice
fact :: n. an actual thing or happening, which must be pro ... dge if he/she sits without a jury).
fair trade laws :: n. state laws which permit manufacturers or produc ... state constitutions in many states.
false arrest :: n. physically detaining someone without the legal ... sment. See also: false imprisonment
felony :: n. 1) a crime sufficiently serious to be punishabl ... ion. See also: misdemeanor sentence
finding :: n. the determination of a factual question vital ( ... e case. See also: conclusion of law
franchise :: 1) n. a right granted by the government to a perso ... on property, income or profits tax.
fraud :: n. the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some ... audulent conveyance intrinsic fraud
fugitive from justice :: n. a person convicted or accused of a crime who hi ... extradition. See also: extradition
gift :: n. the voluntary transfer of property (including m ... ift tax unified estate and gift tax
goodwill :: n. the benefit of a business having a good reputat ... an unknowing buyer. See also: sale
Grand Jury :: n. a jury in each county or federal court district ... arge indictment preliminary hearing
grand larceny :: n. the crime of theft of another's property (inclu ... f the loot. See also: larceny theft
grandfather clause :: n. 1) a clause in a statute or zoning ordinance (p ... Such laws are now unconstitutional.
guest statute :: n. a state law which sets standards of care by the ... sked to be let out. See also: guest
harmless error :: n. an error by a judge in the conduct of a trial w ... ar to be harmless." See also: error
hearing :: n. any proceeding before a judge or other magistra ... e hearing preliminary hearing trial
hearsay rule :: n. the basic rule that testimony or documents whic ... interest dying declaration hearsay
hung jury :: n. slang for a hopelessly deadlocked jury in a cri ... also: dismissal jury mistrial trial
incest :: n. sexual intercourse between close blood relative ... ily genes carrying such weaknesses.
income :: n. money, goods or other economic benefit received ... ernment and most state governments.
incorporate :: v. 1) to obtain an official charter or articles of ... te by reference incorporation stock
indictment :: n. a charge of a felony (serious crime) voted by a ... ictable offense preliminary hearing
information :: n. an accusation or criminal charge brought by the ... Jury indictment preliminary hearing
insanity :: n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a p ... M'Naughten rule temporary insanity
insurance :: n. a contract (insurance policy) in which the insu ... t clause Workers' Compensation Acts
interest :: n. 1) any and all, partial or total right to prope ... nal property real property standing
invasion of privacy :: n. the intrusion into the personal life of another ... randeis. See also: right to privacy
joint :: adj., adv. referring to property, rights or obliga ... ncy joint venture tenancy in common
joint tenancy :: n. a crucial relationship in the ownership of real ... ty property tenancy in common title
judge :: 1) n. an official with the authority and responsib ... ice justice of the peace magistrate
jurisdiction :: n. the authority given by law to a court to try ca ... Superior Court Supreme Court venue
juror :: n. any person who actually serves on a jury. Lists ... : Grand Jury jury jury panel venire
jury :: n. one of the remarkable innovations of the Englis ... hallenge sequester venire voir dire
jury fees :: n. the rather minimal amount paid each day to juro ... ees as a court cost. See also: jury
jury of one's peers :: n. a guaranteed right of criminal defendants, in w ... y African Americans. See also: jury
jury trial :: n. a trial of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution in ... the final judgment. See also: jury
juvenile delinquent :: n. a person who is under age (usually below 18), w ... low as 14. See also: juvenile court
law :: n. 1) any system of regulations to govern the cond ... um maritime law natural law statute
law book :: n. any of numerous volumes dealing with law, inclu ... : common law law Shepardize statute
lease :: 1) n. a written agreement in which the owner of pr ... triple net lease unlawful detainer
libel :: 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), wr ... libel per se public figure slander
lien :: n. any official claim or charge against property o ... ord's lien mechanic's lien mortgage
limited partnership :: n. a special type of partnership which is very com ... mited liability partner partnership
lineup :: n. a law enforcement method used in an attempt to ... entification is precarious at best.
Magna Carta :: n. Latin for "Great Charter," it was a document de ... s. It is also spelled Magna Charta.
mandamus :: (man-dame-us) n. Latin for "we order," a writ (mor ... mandamus. See also: writ of mandate
marriage :: n. the joining of a male and female in matrimony b ... of time without legal formalities.
martial law :: n. a system of complete control by a country's mil ... n and women. See also: military law
minority :: n. 1) in voting, a side with less than half the vo ... See also: legal age majority minor
mistrial :: n. the termination of a trial before its normal co ... from the beginning. See also: trial
mortgage :: n. a document in which the owner pledges his/her/i ... losure notice of default trust deed
motion for a new trial :: n. a request made by the loser for the case to be ... hstanding the verdict motion N.O.V.
murder :: n. the killing of a human being by a sane person, ... premeditation second degree murder
negligence :: n. failure to exercise the care toward others whic ... gence per se res ipsa loquitur tort
no fault insurance :: n: a type of automobile insurance required of car ... ling lawsuits. See also: negligence
non-profit corporation :: n. an organization incorporated under state laws a ... harity corporation cy pres doctrine
not guilty :: n. 1) plea of a person who claims not to have comm ... t guilty by reason of insanity plea
not guilty by reason of insanity :: n. plea in court of a person charged with a crime ... fense not guilty temporary insanity
occupy the field :: v. to preempt (monopolize) an area of statutory la ... ertain topics. See also: preemption
open court :: n. the conduct of judicial proceedings (trials, he ... which are usually held in chambers.
patent :: 1) adj. obvious. Used in such expressions as a "pa ... patent infringement patent pending
people :: n. the designation for the prosecuting government ... secutions, United States v. Miller.
peremptory challenge :: n. the right of the plaintiff and the defendant in ... challenge for cause jury voir dire
plea bargain :: n. in criminal procedure, a negotiation between th ... the ban. See also: cop a plea plea
police powers :: n. from the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, wh ... host of state regulatory statutes.
possession :: n. 1) any article, object, asset or property which ... ctive possession. See also: possess
preemption :: n. the rule of law that if the federal government ... cs control may parallel each other.
preliminary hearing :: n. in criminal law, a hearing to determine if a pe ... nment charge Grand Jury information
privileges and immunities :: n. the fundamental rights that people enjoy in fre ... t impinge on constitutional rights.
promissory note :: n. a written promise by a person (variously called ... lso: interest obligee obligor usury
proof :: n. confirmation of a fact by evidence. In a trial, ... doubt preponderance of the evidence
prosecute :: v. 1) in criminal law, to charge a person with a c ... rney General prosecution prosecutor
prostitution :: n. the profession of performing sexual acts for mo ... so: pander panderer pimp prostitute
real property :: n. 1) all land, structures, firmly attached and in ... onal property real estate reversion
reasonable doubt :: n. not being sure of a criminal defendant's guilt ... also: preponderance of the evidence
record :: 1) v. (ree-cored) to put a document into the offic ... eeding race to the courthouse trial
regulations :: n. rules and administrative codes issued by govern ... es usually have similar procedures.
renunciation :: n. 1) giving up a right, such as a right of inheri ... renunciation is factually too late.
reports :: n. the published decisions of appeals courts in al ... ilable in almost all law libraries.
reservation :: n. a provision in a deed which keeps (reserves) to ... reserves lot 5." See also: reserve
riot :: n. 1) technically a turbulent and violent disturba ... to unlawful possession of firearms.
robbery :: n. 1) the direct taking of property (including mon ... We've been robbed." See also: theft
search and seizure :: n. examination of a person's premises (residence, ... robable cause search search warrant
search warrant :: n. a written order by a judge which permits a law ... ble cause search search and seizure
sentence :: 1) n. the punishment given to a person convicted o ... ence restitution suspended sentence
separate property :: n. in community property states (California, Texas ... pouse. See also: community property
sheriff :: n. the top law enforcement officer for a county, u ... ." See also: bailiff sheriff's sale
shield laws :: n. statutes enacted in some states which declare t ... See also: privileged communication
sodomy :: n. anal copulation by a man inserting his penis in ... tiality). See also: bestiality rape
speedy trial :: n. in criminal prosecutions, the right of a defend ... hurt by the waiver. See also: trial
state action :: n. in federal Civil Rights Acts, dating back to 18 ... for damages. See also: civil rights
statute :: n. a federal or state written law enacted by the C ... and proclamations are not statutes.
statute of limitations :: n. a law which sets the maximum period which one c ... ies. See also: demurrer laches toll
substantive law :: n. law which establishes principles and creates an ... are conducted. See also: procedure
supremacy clause :: n. Article VI, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, ... f involving a constitutional issue.
Supreme Court :: n. 1) the highest court in the United States, whic ... rt in other states. See also: court
tax :: n. a governmental assessment (charge) upon propert ... unified estate and gift tax use tax
tenancy by the entirety :: n. joint ownership of title by husband and wife, i ... ee also: community property tenancy
toll :: v. 1) to delay, suspend or hold off the effect of ... bridge or take passage on a ferry.
tort :: n. from French for "wrong," a civil wrong or wrong ... nce slander trespass wrongful death
transcript :: n. the written record of all proceedings, includin ... unless transcription is requested.
trial :: n. the examination of facts and law presided over ... at a hearing held at a later time.
use tax :: n. a state tax on goods purchased in another state ... e" tax equivalent to its sales tax.
vehicular manslaughter :: n. the crime of causing the death of a human being ... gence manslaughter reckless driving
verdict :: n. the decision of a jury after a trial, which mus ... nt quotient verdict special verdict
warrant :: 1) n. an order (writ) of a court which directs a l ... e search and seizure search warrant
will :: n. a written document which leaves the estate of t ... will and testament probate testator

Popular Law Searches

legal definition ministerial act :: n. an act, particularly of a governmental employee ... exercising any individual judgment.
chancery legal definition :: n. a court that can order acts performed. Today ch ... ts in most states. See also: equity
testamentary disposition legal definition :: n. how the terms of a will divide the testator's ( ... named beneficiaries. See also: will
contract of sufferance :: n. a "hold-over" tenancy after a lease has expired ... y tenancy at will unlawful detainer
forthwith legal definition :: adv. a term found in contracts, court orders and s ... mediacy, with no excuses for delay.
forthwith definition legal :: adv. a term found in contracts, court orders and s ... mediacy, with no excuses for delay.
what is to wit in a legal contract :: prep. that is to say. Example: "the passengers in ... tty Bumgartner and Sherry Younger."
mirror wills legal definition :: n. the wills of a husband and wife which are ident ... d each names the other as executor.
clean hands doctrine latin :: n. a rule of law that a person coming to court wit ... ices. See also: affirmative defense
sine qua non only relates to contract law :: (see-nay kwah nahn) prep. Latin for "without which ... qua non of the injury to Playmate.

Other Law Terms - C

C.I.F. :: n. the total of cost, insurance and freight charge ... aid on goods purchased and shipped.
calendar :: 1) n. the list of cases to be called for trial bef ... clerk of the court calendars cases.
calendar call :: n. the hearing at which a case is set for trial. ... g at which a case is set for trial.
call :: n. the demand by a corporation that a stockholder ... assessment on shares already owned.
calumny :: n. the intentional and generally vicious false acc ... 's reputation. See also: defamation
cancel :: v. to cross out, annul, destroy, void and/or resci ... g, so that it cannot be used again.
cancellation :: cancel ... cancel
caning :: n. a punishment for crimes employed in certain Asi ... last century in the United States.
canon law :: n. laws and regulations over ecclesiastical (churc ... nduct with no religious connection.
cap :: n. slang for maximum, as the most interest that ca ... "adjustable rate" promissory note.
capital :: 1) n. from Latin for caput, meaning "head," the ba ... count capital assets stock in trade
capital account :: n. the record which lists all basic assets of a bu ... or the alleged value of good will.
capital assets :: n. equipment, property, and funds owned by a busin ... . See also: capital capital account
capital expenditure :: n. payment by a business for basic assets such as ... y intended to improve productivity.
capital gains :: n. the difference between the sales price and the ... so: basis delayed exchange exchange
capital investment :: capital expenditure ... capital expenditure
capital offense :: n. any criminal charge which is punishable by the ... . See also: bail capital punishment
capital punishment :: n. execution (death) for a capital offense. The U. ... or death. See also: capital offense
capital stock :: n. the original amount paid by investors into a co ... price. See also: corporation stock
capitalization :: n. 1) the act of counting anticipated earnings and ... for conversion into capital assets.