Unconstitutional, * That which is contrary to the constitution.

2. When an act of the legislature is repugnant or contrary to the constitution, it is, ipso facto, void. 2 Pet. R. 522; 12 Wheat. 270; 3 Dall. 286; 4 Dall. 18.

3. The courts have the power, and it is their duty, when an act is unconstitutional, to declare it to be so; but this will not be done except in a clear case and, as an additional guard against error, the supreme court of the United States refuses to take up a case involving constitutional questions, when the court is not full. 9 Pet. 85. Vide 6 Cranch, 128; 1 Binn. 419; 5 Binn. 355; 2 Penns 184; 3 S. & R. 169; 7 Pick. 466; 13 Pick. 60; 2 Yeates, 493; 1 Virg. Cas. 20; 1 Blackf. 206 6 Rand. 245 1 Murph. 58; Harper, 385 1 Breese, 209 Pr. Dee. 64, 89; 1 Rep. Cons. Ct. 267 1 Car. Law Repos. 246 4 Munr. 43; 5 Hayw. 271; 1 Cowen, 550; 1 South. 192; 2 South. 466; 7 N H. Rep. 65, 66; 1 Chip, 237, 257; 10 Conn. 522; 7 Gill & John. 7; 2 Litt. 90; 3 Desaus. 476.

* From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition. Please see Bouvier's Legal Abbreviations & Abbreviated References for help with obscure nomenclature & references.

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