North-Carolina American Republic Resource Library

Unconstitutional Act - defined

Unconstitutional Act - defined

These two cases exemplify the resulting action in law with unconstitutional acts and acts of usurpation:

An unconstitutional act is not a law. It confers no rights. It imposes no duties. It affords no protection. It creates no office. It is in legal contemplation as inoperative as though it had never been passed. Therefore an unconstitutional act purporting to create an office gives no validity to the acts of a person acting under color of its authority. -Norton v. Shelby County, 6 S.Ct. 1121

An "unconstitutional act" constitutes a protection to no one who has acted under it. and no one can be punished for having refused obedience to it before the decision was made. A legislative act in conflict with the Constitution is not only illegal or voidable, but absolutely void. It is as if never enacted, and no subsequent change of the Constitution removing the restriction could validate it or breathe into it the breath of life. -In re Rahrer, 43 F. 556, 558, 10 L.R.A.444 (View as PDF)

Outside links:

Norton v. Shelby County, 6 S.Ct. 1121

In re Rahrer, Federal Reporter Volume 43, 556 & 558