higher law


: a principle of divine or moral law that is considered to be superior to constitutions and enacted legislation

Examples of higher law in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sister Megan Rice and her compatriots, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, declared this an act of protest and love in the service of a higher law, but the incident prompted a two-week shutdown of the facility, and they were charged and convicted of intending to endanger the national defense. Washington Post, 11 Oct. 2021 Measured against the sweep of Anglo-American legal history, judicial review—the power of unelected judges to invalidate, as contrary to higher law, an act of the legislature—was a radical development. Raymond Kethledge, WSJ, 29 Nov. 2021 This was expected; such sanctuary was understood purely as moral confrontation, proclaiming a righteous and sheltering higher law. Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, The New York Review of Books, 3 Nov. 2020 No call for revenge, or for putting history on trial; only an appeal to a higher law. Olivier Rolin, The New York Review of Books, 7 Oct. 2020 Apocalypse has exposed human ruthlessness and set it loose as the highest law. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 4 May 2020 The Bible, which, for the devout, is a higher law than the Romans or the Constitution, says, Thou shalt not kill. Nr Editors, National Review, 16 Apr. 2020 So, too, must be praise and blame. That the highest law in the land outlines this arrangement is, by itself, reason enough to demand it be followed to the letter. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, 16 Apr. 2020 Those looking to unseat the first black woman to hold the county's highest law enforcement position, have blasted her handling of the matter as haphazard and indecisive. Don Babwin, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Feb. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'higher law.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1593, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of higher law was in 1593

Dictionary Entries Near higher law

Cite this Entry

“Higher law.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/higher%20law. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

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