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11th Amendment an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees a level of sovereign immunity to states by forbidding federal courts from ruling on cases brought against a state by a citizen of another state. The 11th Amendment, ratified in 1795, was passed after the Supreme Court ruled, in Chisholm v. Georgia, in favor of a citizen of South Carolina who was trying to recover debt that was owed him by the state of Georgia. The passage of the amendment overturned this ruling.
22nd Amendment an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that ensures that no person can be elected to more than two four-year terms as President of the United States. The 22nd Amendment, ratified in 1951, was passed in reaction to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office.
antifederalist (often cap.) a member of, or sympathizer with, the party that opposed the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
article a specific section in a document such as a constitution or piece of legislation. [1/4 definitions]
Articles of Confederation a document created in 1781 that served as a set of guidelines for governing the newly formed United States of America. The Articles of Confederation created a "firm league of friendship" among the thirteen original states and maintained the majority of power in states' hands. It was replaced by the U.S. Constitution in 1789.
bill of rights (cap.) such a list incorporated into the U.S. Constitution as the first ten amendments thereof. [1/3 definitions]
charter (often cap.) a document defining the principles and organizational rules of a corporate body, association, club, or the like; constitution. [1/7 definitions]
civil rights in the United States, certain rights and liberties, as to vote, own property, and be treated equally regardless of race, religion, or sex, that are guaranteed by amendments to the Constitution and certain Congressional Acts, esp. as applied to an individual or a minority group. [1/2 definitions]
constituent authorized to elect public officials or to amend a law or constitution. [1/4 definitions]
constitutional of or relating to a constitution. [2/4 definitions]
constitutionalism a system of government based upon the adherence to basic laws and principles laid out in a written constitution. [1/2 definitions]
constitutionality the quality of being in legal accord with a constitution, or of being otherwise constitutional.
constitutionless combined form of constitution.
constructionist a person who interprets a law, constitution, or the like in a specific way, such as literally or broadly.
delicacy weak constitution; frail health. [1/8 definitions]
Equal Rights Amendment a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would prohibit the infringement of rights because of gender.
ERA abbreviation of "Equal Rights Amendment," a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would prohibit the infringement of rights because of gender.
Federalist party an early U.S. political party that favored adoption of the Constitution and a strong federal government.
Fifth Amendment an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees certain rights to accused criminals by providing due process of law, forbidding double jeopardy, and protecting persons from testifying against themselves.
framer (usu. cap.) someone who writes a new law, esp. one of the statesmen who helped write the U.S. Constitution. [1/2 definitions]
judicial activism judicial practice based on the belief that courts may play a role in the creation of new policy by broadly interpreting and reinterpreting the language of the Constitution and other laws when doing so best enables the service of justice.