Constitutional law is the branch of the public law of a nation or state which treats of the organization, powers and frame of government, the distribution of political and governmental authorities and functions, the funda­mental principles which are to regulate the relations of government and citizen, and which prescribes CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE generally the plan and method according to which the public af­fairs of the nation or state are to be administered.

In modern times by far the most important political community has been the national state. Modern constitu­tional law is the offspring of nationalism as well as of CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE the idea that the state must protect certain fundamental rights of the individual. As national states have multiplied in number, so have constitutions and with them the body of constitutional law.

In the broadest sense a constitution is a body of rules governing the affairs of an organized group. A parliament CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE, a church congregation, a social club, or a trade union may operate under the terms of a formal written document labeled constitution. This does not mean that all of the rules of the organization are in the constitution, for usually there are many other rules such as bylaws CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE and customs. Invariably, by definition, the rules spelled out in the constitution are considered to be basic, in the sense that, until they are modified according to an appropriate procedure, all other rules must conform with them.

Every political community, and thus every national state, has a constitution, at least CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE in the sense that it operates its important institutions according to some fundamental body of rules. In this sense of the term the only conceivable alternative to a constitution is a condition of anarchy. Constitutions may be written or unwritten; they may be complex or simple CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE; they may provide for vastly different patterns of governance. Even if the only rule that matters is the whim of an absolute dictator, that may be said to be the constitution.

The constitution of a political community is therefore composed, in the first place, of the principles determining the agencies CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE to which the task of governing the community is entrusted and their respective powers. The constitution of a political community may contain more, however, than the definition of the authorities endowed with powers to command. It may also include principles that delimit those powers in order to secure against CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE them fundamental rights of persons or groups. In Europe, for example, the authority of political rulers throughout the Middle Ages did not extend to religious matters, which were strictly reserved to the jurisdiction of the church. The powers of political rulers, moreover, were limited by the rights of at least some CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE classes of subjects. Quarrels and fights over the extent of such rights were not infrequent; and they were sometimes settled through solemn, legal “pacts” among the contenders, the prominent example being Magna Carta (1215). In the modern age, even the powers of an absolute monarch such as the king CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE of France were not truly absolute: acting alone, he could not alter the fundamental laws of the kingdom or disestablish the Roman Catholic Church.

The theory of the rights of the individual was a potent factor in reshaping the constitutions of Western states in the 17th, 18th, and CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE 19th centuries. The first step was мейд by England at the time of the Glorious Revolution (1688). It was in the United States, however, that the theory scored its most complete success. U.S. constitutionalism put in full evidence the character that belongs, in essence, to all constitutional law CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE: the fact of its being “basic” with respect to all other laws of the legal system. This also мейд it possible to set up institutional controls over the conformity even of legislation with the group of rules considered, within the system, to be of supreme importance.

The American idea of CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE stating in an orderly, comprehensive document the essentials of the rules that must guide the operations of government became popular very quickly. Since the end of the 18th century scores of states, in Europe and elsewhere, have followed the United States’ example. Today, almost all states have constitutional documents CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE describing the fundamental organs of the state, the ways they should operate, and, usually, the rights they must respect and even sometimes the goals they ought to pursue.


Task 1. Find the words with the similar meaning among the following:

sense, power, basic, nation, matter, community, fundamental, authority, affair CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE, method, offspring, way, purpose, body, state, society, result, meaning, aim, important, set, organization, century, law, goal, age, agency, significant, rule.

Task 2. Find the words with the opposite meaning among the following:

public, written, fundamental, to include, to establish, theory, legal, success, to disestablish, private, secondary, complex, rare, unwritten, religious, simple, failure CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE, to exclude, secular, frequent, practice, illegal.

Task 3. Make up correct word combinations:

catholic complete constitutional legal comprehensive governmental supreme fundamental success system importance church authorities law rights document to follow to respect to pursue to administer to modify to operate to endow with to prescribe the example goals rules CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE institutions rights public affairs the method powers

Task 4. Translate the following word combinations into Russian:

constitutional law, to treat of powers and frame of government, to regulate the relations of government and citizen, a church congregation, a bylaw, an appropriate procedure, respective powers, the authority of political CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE rulers, religious matters, to alter the fundamental laws, to protect rights, to delimit powers, unwritten constitution.

Task 5. Translate the following word combinations into English:

ветвь общественного права, рассредотачивание правительственных возможностей, главные принципы, управлять публичными делами, итог национализма, свод норм, политическое общество, наделять функциями, средневековье, римская церковная церковь, права человека CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE, разные формы правления.

Task 6. Insert prepositions:

to treat … the organization … government, according … the plan, rights … the individual, to multiply … number, … the broadest sense … the word, to operate … the terms … a formal written document, to conform … the rules, an alternative … a constitution, to provide … different patterns … governance, … the first place, to endow CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND ITS NATURE … powers, the jurisdiction … the church, to be limited … the rights, … the modern age.