State Constitutions of the United States


Robert L. Maddex

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    The United States, like Australia, Brazil, Germany, and other federal nations, juggles two tiers of government: one sovereign government at the national level and fifty semi-sovereign governments at the state level. As coequal political entities within the federal system, the American states retain all the residual rights guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution. This concept of federalism provides for ongoing constitutional innovation in the states and in the territories (which remain under the federal government's jurisdiction) as well as between the states and the national government. Through trial and error in response to changing times, such innovation has led to new systems and procedures of government and to new rights on both the federal and state levels.

    Although much has been written about the U.S. Constitution, and deservedly so, the constitutions of the states also play a vital role in the day-to-day lives of U.S. citizens. Their domain may lie beneath that of the national constitution, but their influence on the shape of American government and politics has been and continues to be significant.

    Even though it would be impossible for any state constitution to match the worldwide acclaim and emulation of the U.S. Constitution, the states have been occupied for two hundred years in trying to perfect their own supreme laws. As of 2005, 230 state constitutional conventions have been held, 146 constitutions adopted, and some 6,500 amendments made to them. Not counting the unusually long constitution of Alabama—encompassing some 340,000 words—the average length of state constitutions today is around 35,000 words, while the U.S. Constitution contains about 3,500 words and has been amended just twenty-seven times since it went into effect in 1789. One reason state constitutions have been rewritten and revised so much is that they are the means by which the people can restrict the extensive residual powers left to the states by the Tenth Amendment (1791) to the U.S. Constitution, which contains more limited specific powers.

    The purpose of a state constitution, according to John J. Parker, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals from 1931 to 1958, “is two-fold: (1) to protect the rights of the individual from encroachment by the State; and (2) to provide a framework of government for the State and its subdivisions.” If all the framers of state constitutions had kept such a succinct definition in mind, succeeding generations might not have felt the need to revise them so much—to remove statutory-type provisions, to better phrase and organize them, to integrate their numerous amendments into the original text—so that understanding and comparing state constitutions would be much easier today.

    State Constitutions of the United States was written to simplify this task. It gives a broad general picture of the constitutional development of the United States below the national level, a topic often misunderstood or even ignored in discussions of federal constitutional law. Since it was first published in 1998, approximately five hundred new amendments have further lengthened state and territorial constitutions, although no entirely new constitutions have been adopted. Alabama, with 154 amendments, had the most (the majority of them with only local applicability). At the other end of the spectrum, New Hampshire, which requires that amendments be approved by two-thirds of those voting, added no amendments to its constitution.

    Recent Constitutional Trends

    Some significant changes to state constitutions have recently galvanized public opinion and drawn attention to the significance of these documents. Perhaps the most pervasive and well-publicized are amendments that codify the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, thus restricting rights and privileges relating to marriage or some form of civil union between nonheterosexual partners. While some states—Massachusetts, California, and New York, for example—responded to attempts by homosexual couples to marry under state law, in 2004 thirteen states adopted amendments preventing such unions. These amendments brought to seventeen the number of states banning same-sex marriage. Hawaii's constitution, uniquely, uses wording that empowers the legislature to “reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.” As of this writing, campaigns to follow suit are under way in at least nine other states, including Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. This activity at the state level parallels calls, supported by the president, for a similar Defense of Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    Another type of amendment that has found its way into several constitutions since the first edition is, like the marriage amendments, also rooted in the notion of preserving traditional rights. Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin joined Alabama in preserving a historic right to hunt and fish, and in some cases trap, wildlife. California continued to pioneer new constitutional rights, adding the right to have one's vote counted in 2002 and the right to conduct stem-cell research in 2004. That same year Florida added the right of parental notice before termination of a minor's pregnancy as well as the right to fair compensation for claimants in liability suits involving an attorney's contingent fee.

    Previous trends that seem to have faded recently include the extension of direct-democracy procedures, although the use of the recall petition and election of a new governor in California absorbed the nation's attention in 2003. The imposition of term limits on legislators has also abated. Delaware, Florida, and New York revised their constitutions to make their language clearly applicable to both sexes; Florida also changed references to physical handicap in its constitution to disability.

    As might be expected in an era of growing national and state deficits, the majority of amendments adopted related to finance and taxation. With respect to the structure of government, most new amendments dealt with the legislative branch, but several states, including Delaware, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia, adopted important if not major changes in their judicial branches.

    Recent case law continues to be more significant in the area of fundamental rights. The Oklahoma supreme court, for example, held in In re Initiative Petition 336 (2002) that an initiative requiring English-only government communications would infringe the state constitution's protection of free speech and the right to petition the government for grievances. In Cook v. Gralike (2001), the U.S. Supreme Court found that sections of Missouri's constitution instructing its representatives in Congress to promote federal term limits violated Articles I and V and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    Several new cases address the lines that separate the three major branches of state government. In In re Mohr (2001), the supreme court of Hawaii noted that a court must carefully weigh the use of judicial power where its actions may intrude into other areas of government. In Bester v. Louisiana (2001), the state's highest court acted jealously to guard the judiciary's inherent power to regulate the practice of law in Louisiana. Other recent cases continue to address the evolving relationship between state and federal law and the relationship between state and local government. Some seventy new cases have been added to this second edition of State Constitutions of the United States.

    State constitutional law, as interpreted by the states' highest courts, also continues to influence the U.S. Supreme Court. For example, the Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas followed the trend in state courts of extending constitutional privacy rights; reversing the Court's seventeen-year-old decision in Bowers v. Hardwick, the justices found that state criminal laws prohibiting two persons of the same sex from engaging in consensual sexual conduct violates the due process clause of the Bill of Rights. The Court's recent refusal to revisit the 1973 precedent-setting abortion case Roe v. Wade, by denying the appeal of Norma McCorvey (the “Roe” of the landmark case), may be a further indication of the justices' reluctance to completely turn back the clock on previous extensions of rights.

    Organization of the Book

    State Constitutuions of the United States presents the current constitutions of the fifty states and the three U.S. territories that have constitutions. This new edition also includes an entry for the District of Columbia, a jurisdiction with a unique status in the federal system; including its governing laws allows comparison with those of the states and the territories that have written constitutions. Bearing in mind Judge Parker's criteria for state constitutions, the book focuses on topics of major importance and interest, from fundamental citizen rights to the roles of the legislature and its presiding officers, the governor, and the supreme court. Some less significant provisions are generally not included—for example, sections dealing with state elections, voting requirements, apportionment of the legislature, compensation for public officials, and requirements for officials and institutions of lesser importance to the basic system of state government. In addition, not all the same types of provision are covered in each state, especially where more unusual items in one state also warrant attention.

    Each profile begins with a brief statement of general information: the date of the state or territory's admission to the Union or territorial status, its nickname, its size, the states or areas bordering it, its population and rank in population, and key industries and crops. Next come an overview of the three branches of the state government and the date or dates of its constitutions, followed by a summary of the constitutional history of each state or territory. These historical summaries generally begin at the time of European contact with the New World, continue through attainment of statehood or territorial status, and describe the various constitutions adopted. Next is an introduction to the state's current constitution itself, including any pertinent comparisons and historical insights.

    A summary of key provisions of the state's constitution follows, using actual text in many instances and, in general, mirroring the order typical of most constitutions. After the preamble the constitution's fundamental rights provisions are outlined. Although in some instances the items included under this rubric may not seem to be fundamental rights, they are noted to indicate the range of concepts that have been brought under this heading by the framers of state constitutions. After a statement of the division of powers within the state, the text moves to an outline of the government structure created by the constitution—the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, presented in the order of their relative importance in state government. The section on the legislative branch focuses on the structure of the state legislature, the officers and members, their privileges and immunities, legislative rules, and procedures for enacting legislation. For the executive branch, the discussion centers on the role and responsibilities of the governor, including qualifications, term, succession to office, and other elected statewide officials with whom the governor shares power. The summary of the judicial branch features the state supreme court, noting its composition, selection of members, and jurisdiction.

    Subsequent sections present excerpts from other key provisions: impeachment and a variety of items that appear in some but not all documents, such as direct democracy procedures (initiative, referendum, and recall), local government, taxation and finance, education, the official language, health and welfare, and the environment. Finally, the state's constitutional amendment procedures are summarized.

    In presenting the excerpts from and discussions of the state constitutions, a balance has been struck in each state's entry between retaining the general form and structure of the document itself and organizing material in standardized locations where it will be more helpful to the reader.

    Selected rulings of federal and state courts are noted throughout to show how state constitutional provisions have affected the rights and interests of individuals, businesses, and public and private institutions; such decisions also illuminate constitutional language, explain or limit the meaning of constitutional provisions, and provide a general sense of the relationships among the branches of state government and between state and federal constitutional law. A table of the cases cited is provided on pages 488–96.

    Comments on and comparisons with historic predecessor constitutions, earlier forms of a constitution before amendments, other state constitutions, or the U.S. Constitution (see pages 473–87) are included where appropriate. Another aid in comparing state constitutions, beginning on page xxvi, is a set of quick reference charts that give general information about state constitutions as well as the structure and processes of state governments, provisions relating to new individual rights, and special constitutional provisions. A glossary of terms and concepts begins on page 497.

    The texts of the constitutions included in the book were obtained from the states and territories. These documents vary in form, style, and readability, both from constitution to constitution and within each constitution. Because state constitutions are amended far more frequently than the U.S. Constitution, each one is presented here subject to later amendment; those amendments adopted through January 1, 2005, have been noted where applicable. In states where the amendments have been integrated into the constitution, dates of amendments may not be given.

    A Delicate Balance

    As in the nation's first two hundred years, the constitutions and constitutional law of the states vis-a-vis each other and the federal government remain dynamic and in continual flux. At the turn of the millennium, states' rights was the watchword used by commentators in analyzing many U.S. Supreme Court cases. Today, however—perhaps in part because of events surrounding September 11, 2001—the focus has changed from the importance of states' rights to the need to secure fundamental rights. How they can be protected to ensure the freedom and democracy guaranteed by both the national and state constitutions and yet subordinated to promote homeland security remains a pressing concern.

    Much appreciation is due the helpful staff members of the offices of governors, attorneys general, secretaries of state, state courts, and state legislatures who have provided information for both editions. I am grateful for the original assistance of A. E. Dick Howard, White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs, University of Virginia School of Law. Thanks also go to Archetype Press, especially my wife, Diane Maddex, and the book's designer, Robert L. Wiser, as well as to the book's original editor, Gretchen Smith Mui. In addition, I want to acknowledge the continuing support of Shana Wagger, acquisitions editor, and also David Arthur of CQ Press, Inc.


    It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices [constitutions] should be necessary to controul the abuses of government. But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? James Madison, Essay 51, The Federalist (1788)

    Constitutional democracy—the concept enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of its fifty constituent states, some of which predate the federal document itself—is spreading around the globe. Today most nations can be categorized as constitutional democracies, even if they are imperfect in some respects, and approximately ninety percent of the countries of the world select their legislators by free and open elections. In the last few years the United States has led efforts to spread democracy to nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The honor of having the world's oldest written constitution that is still in force, however, goes not to the United States or another nation but to one of the original American states: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1780). A number of other states can also claim constitutional “firsts.” The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, an early colonial government document dating from 1638–39, has been hailed as the world's first written constitution. The document that revolutionary New Hampshirites drafted in 1776 is considered the first written for an independent state, although it remained in effect only until 1784. And in 1778 New Hampshire assembled the first constitutional convention—a body of delegates, not members of a legislature, specially selected to revise or draft a constitution. Since then, its method of drafting a constitution has been used the world over, including by the United States in 1787.

    The constitutions of the original thirteen American colonies and their antecedents during the colonial period played a key role in the constitutional development of the nation as a whole and, in turn, of most of the world's democracies. In fact, it is doubtful that the U.S. Constitution would have taken the form it did had it not been for the experience of the thirteen colonies, which used written constitutions as the basis for their governments when they became independent states.

    Laboratories of Democracy

    The influential role of state constitutions did not end with the drafting of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia beginning in the summer of 1787. Part of the genius of our constitutional form of government lies in the ability of the state governments to evolve and influence each other as well as the national government. Far from being simply mirror images of the U.S. Constitution on a smaller scale, all of our state constitutions have become experiments—as they should be in a federal democracy—in human rights and systems of government. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, who served on the Court from 1916 to 1939, called the states “laboratories of democracy.” This ongoing experimentation in self-government and the relationship among the states and between them and the federal government is made possible by the concept of federalism embodied in the U.S. Constitution. A grant of specific powers by the people of the states of the Union, the Constitution leaves to the states, as expressed in the Tenth Amendment (1791), significant residual powers of government. State constitutions, therefore, are limitations placed on those residual powers by the citizens of the states. They are necessary to protect individuals from unchecked political power at the state level, in the same way that the federal Constitution shields the citizens and the states themselves from unbridled national political power.

    Before the Fourteenth Amendment (1868), the federal courts had no basis for enforcing in the states the guarantees of the Constitution's Bill of Rights (1791). For much of the early federal period, therefore, state constitutions and state courts were citizens' major sources of protection against infringement of rights by state government. Building on the Fourteenth Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court embarked on an expansion of civil and individual rights vis-à-vis state government, culminating after World War II in a number of important precedents. The Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), voiding the “separate but equal” doctrine on which school segregation had been based, is one of the best-known examples of this expansion of rights. Other rights found by the Court during this era include the right of privacy and the right to an abortion during the early stages of pregnancy, neither of which is expressly mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

    As we head into the twenty-first century, the federal courts seem to have slowed the growth of citizen rights. Once again, the slack is being taken up by the constitutions and courts of many of the states and territories. As the “new federalism” or “judicial federalism” has evolved over the past four decades, state constitutions have come to play an increasingly important role. Using new individual rights guaranteed in state constitutions and statutes, many state courts are taking an activist stance in interpreting rights that the U.S. Supreme Court now circumscribes. From the states also come a variety of innovations in self-government that have not yet found their way into the U.S. Constitution.

    New Rights

    The states have also recorded a number of “firsts” in the area of individual rights: in 1776 Virginia was the first to produce a constitutional declaration of rights; Vermont added the first antislavery provision in 1777; the Wyoming Territory in 1869 became the first government anywhere to allow women to vote. Current concerns at the national level—equal rights, accessibility for the disabled, welfare, treatment of crime victims, abuses of taxpayers, and environmental protection—have already been addressed in many state constitutions although none is enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. Nineteen state constitutions have prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sex, and five have similar provisions relating to the disabled. A number have welfare rights provisions, bills of rights for crime victims, and guarantees of environmental rights. More than half the states have either a constitutional or a statutory bill of rights for taxpayers. To date eight constitutions have incorporated an express right of privacy, and nineteen states have adopted some form of statutory privacy right. Many states have enacted other analogous statutory provisions relating to fundamental rights. Several have added amendments guaranteeing traditional rights to hunt and fish.

    Not only do state constitutions include new rights not guaranteed by the federal constitution—a 1974 amendment to the California constitution even asserts that “[r]ights guaranteed by this Constitution are not dependent on those guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution”—many state constitutions and state courts also have a policy of more vigorous enforcement of fundamental rights.

    Initiative, Referendum, and Recall

    A majority of the states now provide some type of direct democratic procedures whereby citizens may bypass the traditional legislative process of representative democracy and initiate legislation and constitutional amendments, approve or reject proposed laws and government actions through referendums, and recall elected and appointed state officials. Several restrict direct democracy to the right to recall certain officials.

    Item Veto Power and Balanced Budgets

    All but six states grant the governor power to veto individual items in appropriations bills. Although Congress tried to provide the president with limited line-item veto power, this grant was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in mid-1998. At least thirty-five state constitutions mandate a balanced budget—an issue debated perennially on the national level—and half of the remaining states address the issue through state laws.

    Term Limits

    Term limits for governors were in place in many state constitutions before the Twenty-second Amendment, limiting the president to two terms, was ratified in 1951. A dozen states, however, have no limitation on how often the governor may be elected. Sixteen state constitutions have set term limits for state legislators, but both this trend and a movement to restrict the terms of members of Congress have recently abated.

    Election of Judges

    About forty state constitutions now require approval by the voters for supreme court justices and judges to attain or be retained in office. Rarely do states permit their justices to serve simply “during good behavior” until they retire, as is the rule in the federal judiciary, whose members are appointed by the president.

    Constitutional Amendments

    In addition to the more traditional ways of amending their constitutions, eighteen states now permit constitutional amendments to be proposed by popular initiative. Fourteen states mandate that conventions be called at regular intervals or at least that the question of whether to call a convention be regularly submitted to the electorate. Most states, unlike the federal government, periodically integrate amendments into the text of their constitutions, bringing them up-to-date and making them more understandable to citizens.

    Just as laboratory experiments test the laws of chemistry and physics, these experiments are assessing current political and government theories. The results are not always perfect. Item vetoes, for example, have been used on occasion to change the intention of legislation, not merely to reduce the amount of appropriations in a bill. The election of supreme court judges has led to punishment of jurists by the electorate for what may be valid but unpopular decisions. Initiatives, referendums, and recall petitions can create complicated ballots that confuse voters and produce inequities for minorities. Term limits may result in the loss of effective political leaders. Nonetheless, the constructive evolution of the democratic process seems to be taking place more and more in the laboratory of the states before progressive or new ideas reach the national level.

    State constitutions also continue to have an impact on other states, just as their predecessors did in forming the Union two centuries ago. Constitution makers in one state often look to provisions and court rulings on constitutional issues in others during their deliberations to amend, revise, or rewrite their own state's constitution. Many state courts also review constitutional language and judicial rulings in other states to analyze questions brought before them about their own state's supreme laws.

    The constant interaction between constitutional development in the states and at the national level is what makes our federal system of government so complex and yet so creative. Americans are innovators, and the system of government designed in 1787 in Philadelphia for a new nation continues to provide opportunities for further innovation.

    The Beginnings of State Constitutions

    All written national and state constitutions, including the U.S. Constitution, can trace their lineage to the governing charters of the American colonies that declared their independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. Before the U.S. Constitution, the only written constitutions were those of the thirteen British colonies in America, and since then nearly all the other nations of the world have adopted similar written documents.

    In some cases the early charters and frames of government of these British colonies were granted to or imposed on the colonists by the Crown. In others they were bestowed by colonial proprietors, such as William Penn, who had received territorial rights in the New World from the English government. In a few instances, they were drawn up by the colonists themselves—the Mayflower Compact of 1620, for example, was an agreement among some of the English Pilgrims to “covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation.…” Although most colonies had governors appointed by the Crown, the colonists were often granted the right to participate in governing the colony along with rights to which English subjects were entitled.

    After American independence was declared, the colonists' early charters significantly influenced the constitution making of the thirteen original states. In addition to borrowing ideas from one another, their constitutions, dating to 1776, also served as a starting point for the drafters of the Articles of Confederation, which was adopted in 1781, and then the U.S. Constitution when it was written six years later. State constitutions thus predate by thirteen years the effective date of the U.S. Constitution itself in 1789.

    When planters in the Connecticut Colony met in 1638–39 to “frame a social compact … constituting a new and independent commonwealth, with definite officers, executive and legislative, and prescribed rules and modes of government,” they created what is believed to be the world's first written constitution. The colony's Fundamental Orders of 1638–39 and the royal charter of 1662 were adopted together as the state's constitution after it entered the Union on January 9, 1788. Rhode Island also used its colonial charter of 1663 as its constitution once it became a state. Six months before the Declaration of Independence was signed, New Hampshire launched the process of writing constitutions. Seven more of the first thirteen independent American states adopted new written constitutions in 1776 and two did so the following year. Because Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and the other states with early constitutions have all since replaced their first constitutions, the prize for the oldest written constitution still in effect goes to the 1780 constitution of Massachusetts.

    Both the Pilgrims in Plymouth and the framers of the U.S. Constitution had been exposed to the British constitution initiated in 1215 when King John had the great charter of liberties—Magna Carta—thrust on him by his unbowed barons. This unwritten constitution encompassed both the structure of the government and succeeding monarchs' acknowledgments that their subjects and the Parliament possessed certain liberties and rights. At the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, no other nation in the world extended to its enfranchised subjects anywhere near the democratic rights to which those under the British Crown were entitled. Although derived for the most part from the British constitution, the basic concepts of constitutional democracy embodied in the early American state constitutions, however, had been forged in the Athens of Plato and Aristotle and the Rome of Cincinnatus and Cicero. The history of all written constitutions begins in these two cities of the distant past.

    From the government of Athens between 508 and 338 B.C. came the basic ideas of democracy: majority rule, popular sovereignty, regular elections, and accountability of government officials. From the Roman republic between 509 and 27 B.C. came the notion of representative government as epitomized by the Roman senate—a term still used today in the federal and state constitutions to designate the upper house of the legislature. The next link in the chain of modern democratic government was forged in Iceland, where a parliamentary-type body called the Althing was established in A.D. 930.

    The story of constitutional government then moves to England. Beginning with Magna Carta in 1215, England began moving away from rule by a monarch in consultation with representatives of the nobles and commoners toward rule by a parliament consisting of an upper chamber of the clergy and nobility and a lower chamber of representatives of the commoners; the monarch's consent would become an impotent formality. Today even the powers of the House of Lords, the upper chamber, have been eroded by the lower House of Commons, to the extent that the Lords can only delay some legislative actions.

    When the newly independent states of the United States began to form their own governments, not all of their constitutions—as might be expected with any new invention—worked as well as their framers expected. The major flaw in most of these early supreme laws stemmed from the lack of institutional checks and balances among the government's legislative, executive, and judicial branches and too much reliance on frequent elections of legislators to curb excesses and remedy government inadequacies. Perhaps the model of the all-powerful British Parliament, which technically includes the two houses of Parliament as well as the monarch, had an overriding influence on the first state constitutions. As the eighteenth-century English jurist Sir Edward Coke is said to have commented: “The power and jurisdiction of parliament is so transcendent and absolute, that it cannot be confined, either for causes or persons, within any bounds.” With experience, however, the documents were replaced by new constitutions that increased the authority of the governor at the expense of the legislature and the independence of the judiciary.

    In addition to informing the drafters of the U.S. Constitution, the early state constitutions had an influence beyond America's shores. The documents were translated into French and made available in France almost immediately after their adoption. At the urging of Benjamin Franklin, then the American minister to France, a compilation sanctioned by the French government and entitled Constitutions des Treize Etats de l'Amerique, was published in France in 1783. There is no doubt that the early American state constitutions affected those who drew up the constitution of the first French Republic of 1791 as well as other constitutions modeled on this and later French constitutions. The drafters of the first French constitution, for example, included a declaration of rights, called the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, as well as guarantees of natural and civil rights; expressly separated the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government; established a national legislature elected indirectly by the citizens that could not be dissolved by the French monarch, who headed the executive branch; and enumerated the legislature's powers.

    The Constitutions of the States

    Unlike national constitutions, state constitutions do not simply stand alone at the apex of a system of laws but are part of an interactive organization of federal and state governments. Federalism, which is an attempt to solve the problems that arise from this interaction between national and state laws, has continued to evolve since the nation was founded. As Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy J. Holland observes in The Delaware Constitution of 1897: The First One Hundred Years (1997), “A knowledge of the origins and history of state constitutions is essential to understanding federalism in the United States.”

    Together with the federal and state constitutions, the other major component of America's federal system is the body of constitutional law created by the courts as they interpret these constitutions in individual cases. In seven states the supreme court is also constitutionally authorized to give advisory opinions to other branches of government, and in many states the attorney general in addition may render advisory opinions, but neither carries the same weight as a legal opinion of a court in an actual case.

    State constitutions differ from the U.S. Constitution in that the federal document makes specific grants of authority to the national government, while the states retain residual power that is generally considered to be broad and unfettered. Article I, section 8, of the U.S. Constitution, for example, itemizes the powers of Congress. If Congress tries to enact inappropriate legislation, the courts can declare it unconstitutional. State legislatures, on the other hand, are not subject to any restraints on the legislative matters they may address, except those that are delegated exclusively to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution (such as coining money) or prohibited by it (such as entering into any treaty, alliance, or confederation) and matters expressly barred by the state's constitution. Because state constitutions are considered to be limitations on the states' residual power rather than grants of authority by the sovereign citizens, state courts have often found it difficult to restrain state legislatures within the bounds of their constitutions and, until recently, to enforce individual rights under them.

    All state constitutions have some elements in common with one another and with the U.S. Constitution. They all, like the federal document, create three major branches of government—legislative, executive, and judicial. The U.S. Constitution and all but one of the states establish bicameral legislatures. The highest executive officer in each state is called the governor. And most states have a hierarchical judiciary, with a supreme court at the top and a chief justice as the head of the judicial administration. A statement of fundamental rights similar to the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights is a feature common to all.

    But in many more respects state constitutions differ from the federal document. One obvious difference is length. State constitutions range from 9,200 words (New Hampshire's) to 340,000 words (Alabama's), and the average is about 35,000 words, compared to the succinct 3,500 words in the U.S. Constitution. The number of amendments also varies greatly. Whereas the U.S. Constitution has been amended a mere twenty-seven times since 1789—ten of the amendments forming the Bill of Rights two years later—amendments to state constitutions run as high as 772 in Alabama.

    Also unlike the U.S. Constitution, most state constitutions create a plural executive branch in which a number of statewide elected officers—a secretary of state, a treasurer, and an attorney general, among others—share power with the governor. Many governors, but not the U.S. president, have power to veto items in appropriations bills, and many states require balanced budgets, a goal that has yet eluded the federal government. Most state constitutions, but not the federal document, provide for the election of judges, including the justices of the state supreme court. State constitutions, on the other hand, vary widely among themselves with respect to rights expressly granted, the detail with which they are written, the inclusion of direct democracy procedures, and the ways in which their constitutions may be amended or revised.

    Many of the documents can be grouped together, beginning with the late-eighteenth-century constitutions reflecting the earliest constitutional forms—Massachusetts (1780), New Hampshire (1784), Vermont (1793)—which in turn influenced those of Maine (1820) and Rhode Island (1843). Southern constitutions of the late nineteenth century—Texas (1876), Mississippi (1890), and South Carolina (1896), for example—evince a reaction to the negative experiences of the post–Civil War era. The Midwest and Northwest tend toward progressive constitutions, the less-populated western states toward businesslike documents. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the modern constitutions—New Jersey (1948), Puerto Rico (1952), and Alaska and Hawaii (both 1959), which are modeled more on the U.S. Constitution. Some constitutions came close to being modernized—New York (1894), New Mexico (1911), and Maryland (1867), for example—except that the voters in these states indicated a willingness to keep the devil they know.

    All state constitutions nonetheless adhere to a basic format, one that is followed closely in State Constitutions of the United States, as the outline below summarizes.

    Preamble. Derived from the Latin words pre (before) and ambulo (to walk), a constitution's preamble generally contains an introductory statement of the basis, reasons, or goals for the constitution as well as language intended to make the it operative, such as: “We, the people … do ordain and establish this constitution.” Preambles, which differ in length, style, and content, do not appear in all constitutions and are not considered enforceable by a court in the same way that the language in the body of the document is.

    Fundamental Rights. Fundamental rights are guarantees made by a government to its citizens. Such rights—to speak freely, profess individual religious beliefs, obtain due process under and equal protection of the law, and be safe from inhumane treatment at the hands of government officials—are generally enumerated in a separate section of a constitution, usually at the beginning. This section may be called a “bill of rights,” as are the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, or a “declaration of rights.”

    The fundamental rights found in the Bill of Rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press and the right to assemble peaceably and petition the government for redress of grievances, are often recited. Other typical provisions include probitions against quartering soldiers in private homes without the owners' consent, excessive bail, and cruel and (in the case of some states, or) unusual punishment. In addition to many of the basic federal rights and freedoms, state constitutions may contain provisions ensuring rights of women, the disabled, crime victims, and taxpayers as well as guarantees of welfare and privacy, to name a few. Whereas the federally guaranteed fundamental rights are in a sense a minimum floor of government protection for the individual, the enumerated rights in state constitutions can represent another layer.

    That a state constitution does not enumerate certain rights does not necessarily mean that the state does not recognize those rights. States disagree on which rights are fundamental and which fundamental rights should be included in a constitution. Many states have chosen to establish fundamental rights—or, perhaps for them, less than fundamental rights—by statute instead. Some states consider welfare, protection of the environment, and privacy as fundamental rights worthy of inclusion in their constitutions. Others either make no provision for such rights or deal with them only by statute. The fact that a provision is raised to the level of a constitutional right, however, may indicate just how much importance the state places on it.

    All fundamental rights in a constitution may not even be contained in the bill or declaration of rights. Alabama's constitution, for example, describes property rights of women in article X, Exemptions, rather than in article I, Declaration of Rights. And all the provisions in the rights section may not relate directly to individual rights. A number of states, such as West Virginia, proclaim that a free government can be preserved “only by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.” In a strict sense this language is not a guarantee of any right or freedom for citizens but serves as an admonition to them.

    In general, the trend in state constitutions and statutes is to expand the nature and scope of fundamental rights over what has been and is currently considered a right at the federal level. State courts also act to expand the scope of these rights. Of course, exceptions occur: in 1982, after the Florida supreme court extended state constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures beyond that afforded by the Fourth Amendment (1791) of the U.S. Constitution, the Florida constitution was amended to indicate that this right would be “construed in conformity with the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court.”

    Division of Powers. A tenet of constitutionalism is that the basic powers of a constitutional government must be kept largely separate. Plato noted in the fourth century B.C. that a balance of power is needed among a state's ruling elements; and Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, author of The Spirit of the Laws (1748), identified the executive, legislative, and judicial functions as the separate powers common to all sovereign governments.

    Like the U.S. Constitution, some state constitutions do not articulate the separation of powers principle, but most do. The concept does not require absolute separation, and, as James Madison pointed out in essay 47 of The Federalist (1788), it does not preclude one branch of government from having some control over another through checks and balances. The question of whether the principle has been violated by a particular branch of government is generally a matter that is settled by the courts. But even the courts sometimes have a hard time drawing a line between branches of government. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes noted in a dissenting opinion in 1928, “[H]owever we may disguise it by veiling words we do not and cannot carry out the distinction between the legislative and executive branches with mathematical precision and divide the branches into watertight compartments.…”

    Legislative Branch. The legislature has tended to be the dominant branch of state government. Reasons for this may stem from the people's historic distrust of the executive branch and a lack of aggressive judicial review at the state level. Many states, however, are experimenting with ways to circumvent and circumscribe their state legislators through direct democracy provisions such as the popular initiative, referendum, and recall as well as limits on the number of years legislators can serve. More than one-half of all state constitutions now include some direct democracy provisions, and nearly as many limit legislators' terms. Such changes indicate that some citizens are not totally satisfied with the traditional form of representative state government.

    Except for Nebraska, all states and the three U.S. territories with constitutions have bicameral legislatures, but bicameralism has little real significance at the state level. It was important when the parliamentary system of government was evolving in England because it required the agreement of the aristocracy and the commoners for laws to be passed; in the United States at the national level it allows states to be represented in the Senate and individuals to be represented in the House of Representatives. A bicameral state legislature, however, does create the possibility of greater checks on the legislative process, especially when each house is controlled by a different political party.

    State constitutions generally provide basic procedures for enacting legislation, which vary from state to state and according to the type of legislative action specified. They also define the quorum necessary for doing business and the majorities needed for approval of various types of legislation. Also addressed are the ways in which legislative business is conducted, such as the selection of the legislature's officers, and legislators' privileges and immunities, including the legislature's power to discipline members (and sometimes the public) for improper behavior.

    Executive Branch. The head of the executive branch in each state and territory with a constitution is invariably called the governor. The term governor was used in the British colonial system to denote an intermediate executive position between a superior governor general and an inferior lieutenant governor. All governors are popularly elected for a term of four years except in New Hampshire and Vermont, where the governor serves for two years. Most states have a lieutenant governor, who may be elected jointly with the governor or separately, in which case the two may represent different political parties. In the majority of the forty-two states that elect both a governor and a lieutenant governor, the two are elected jointly. Where the lieutenant governor must act as or succeed to the governor's position, this ensures political continuity. In some states, however, the desire to keep the executive branch from becoming dominated by one party outweighs the potential benefits of political party continuity.

    The constitutions of several states, notably Alaska, Hawaii, and New Jersey, closely follow the U.S. Constitution in that they concentrate all executive power in the hands of a single elected official, the governor; in those states there are no other statewide elected officials in the executive branch with whom power must be shared. The governor is a true chief executive who, like the American president, can appoint the heads of the executive departments, such as the secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general.

    In most other states, the constitutions provide for a number of elected officials in the executive branch who share power with the governor. In such cases the state's chief executive, unlike the president, has to work with a secretary of state, an attorney general, or other elected officials who may be from an opposition party, thus making full implementation of the governor's programs difficult. This plural form of government is desirable in many states because it diffuses power throughout the executive branch rather than concentrating it in a single person.

    Like the president, each governor oversees the executive branch, makes certain appointments as authorized by the constitution or a statute, informs the legislature about “the state of the state,” and is responsible for preparing and executing the state budget. The governors of some states are required to submit a balanced state budget, while in others this task falls to the legislature.

    State constitutions detail age and additional qualifications for the governor and other statewide elected officials, along with their terms of office and the manner in which the governor is elected. Most states restrict the governor's service to two consecutive terms or two terms only. Indiana and Oregon, however, limit it to eight of twelve years and Montana and Wyoming to eight of sixteen years. The lieutenant governor often serves as president of the upper house of the state legislature, just as the vice president of the United States presides over the Senate. The incumbent may also act for the governor when the governor is incapacitated or simply out of the state and succeeds to the governorship in the case of resignation, conviction on impeachment, or death.

    Judicial Branch. The judicial branch in state governments has not been truly coequal with the other two branches and has tended to be more deferential to them than the federal judiciary has been to the president and Congress. A number of state constitutions, especially in the Northeast, provide little detail about the judiciary, which is true of the U.S. Constitution as well. The courts were not the focus of the American Revolution, and the framers of the early state constitutions were more concerned with the legislative and executive branches, letting the judiciary take care of itself to a great extent.

    But this tendency has changed. Many state constitutions now go to great lengths to describe the structure, jurisdiction, and duties of their state court system. During this century state judges have also become increasingly subject to regular scrutiny by the electorate. In contrast to the selection process for justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts, the vast majority of state constitutions today provide for some form of popular input into the selection or retention of the state judiciary. Justices and judges may be either elected for fixed terms or initially appointed by the governor, with the approval of the legislature (generally the senate), and then subjected to popular approval at fixed intervals through partisan or nonpartisan elections. In South Carolina and Virginia, justices are elected by the legislature, whereas in Connecticut they are appointed by the legislature. Only three states—Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island—still mandate virtually life tenure for appointed justices.

    The highest state court is usually called the supreme court, but in a few cases it is known as the court of appeals. This court generally consists of a chief justice and an even number of other justices. Some states, including Delaware and Indiana, have just five members on their supreme courts, while others, such as Mississippi and Oklahoma, have as many as nine justices. Qualifications for the supreme court generally include admission to the state bar and a period of time spent either practicing law or serving on a lower court. Procedures for disciplining and removing judges vary, but they are often subject to impeachment, and some special commissions may recommend disciplinary action. The state supreme court may be given constitutional authority to hear disciplinary charges.

    The jurisdiction of a state supreme court is generally limited to hearing cases on appeal from lower courts, issuing writs necessary to carry out their judicial functions, and overseeing the state bar. Seven state constitutions authorize the state's highest court, unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, to give advisory opinions to the other branches of government.

    Impeachment. All state constitutions except Oregon's have provisions for impeachment of executive branch officials; in some, officials in another branch are also subject to removal in this fashion. Impeachment procedures are found in different parts of constitutions and generally follow the language of the U.S. Constitution. These rules are derived from the British Parliament, the highest court in the United Kingdom, where impeachment is the prosecution by the House of Commons before the House of Lords of any person, peer or commoner, for treason or other high crimes and misdemeanors. In most state constitutions, as in the U.S. Constitution, impeachment charges are brought against a government official by the lower house of the legislature and then tried before the upper house. In Nebraska, because of its unicameral legislature, the procedure has been modified.

    In addition to formal impeachment proceedings, many state constitutions provide for other means of disciplining and removing government officials, including recall by the voters—an action that puts democratic power directly in the hands of citizens.

    Other Provisions. Other provisions that are often included in state constitutions and that are generally highlighted in State Constitutions of the United States include direct democracy procedures, local government (such as home rule), taxation and finance, education, and, less frequently, health and welfare and environmental protection.

    Direct democracy procedures include popular initiatives for state legislation or constitutional amendments; referendums on legislation or statewide issues; and recall of state officials. Although not focused on in this book, a few state constitutions provide for initiative, referendum, and recall only with respect to special matters or to issues below the state level, such as municipal officers or decision making.

    Most state constitutions provide for local management of government affairs by cities or counties, often referred to as home rule. The state constitution may also prescribe the methods by which home rule charters are obtained by municipalities.

    Education policy varies only slightly from constitution to constitution: all states generally undertake to provide for the education of children, and some go further, promoting higher education for high school graduates. All states have some sort of welfare policy, but to date only about a dozen include welfare in their constitutions. All states also have some environmental protection policy—a growing area of public concern about clean air and water and preservation of wildlife, wilderness, and historic areas—but not many spell out such policy in their constitutions.

    Addressing contentious current issues, sixteen states have joined Hawaii in amending their contitutions to prevent same-sex marriage. Several states—Arkansas, Colorado, and Rhode Island—inserted language regarding abortions into their constitutions; all other states have adopted statutory language on the subject. In 2004 California added an amendment authorizing stem-cell research. A handful of states, among them Arizona, California, Florida, and Nebraska, have adopted constitutional provisions making English their official language; others use statutory provisions to this effect.

    Amendment Procedures. State constitutions provide for the constitution itself to be amended or revised. Typically included are procedures for the legislature to propose amendments, which often require a supermajority vote by both houses and in some cases a vote at two separate sessions, the second after a general election. All but nine state constitutions also provide for amendments and major revisions of the constitution by convention and contain procedures for selecting delegates. New York is one of the fourteen states that require regular conventions or voter choice as to whether a convention should be convened. Forty-nine states submit amendments to the voters for ratification; only Delaware does not.

    In states where amendments may be made by popular initiative, the proposals must have a requisite number of signatures, in addition to other requirements. As signatories, Massachusetts requires three percent of the total vote cast for governor in the preceding election, while at the other end of the spectrum Arizona demands fifteen percent of the total votes cast for all gubernatorial candidates in the last election.

    State constitutions are amended far more frequently than is the U.S. Constitution. The reasons for this vary, but at least the procedures for amending state constitutions are not so difficult that they inhibit changes. Citizens and particularly state legislators clearly view their state constitution as a work in progress rather than a nearly immutable document, as so many regard the U.S. Constitution. Making amendments easy is not a bad idea. An outdated constitution—and a number of state constitutions can be considered outdated by their own standards—is a hindrance to better government. Although some may say that state amendment procedures are too easy, the processes of amending or revising a constitution and writing a completely new constitution are a major part of the democratic nature of constitutional government. Thomas Jefferson believed that each generation should have the opportunity to rewrite the U.S. Constitution. This may seem extreme, but constitutions, like other organizational plans, must change because times change. And constitutions can always be improved.

    One problem with the proliferation of amendments to state constitutions, however, is that the more amendments a constitution has, the more difficult it is for the average citizen or even the average lawyer to understand their effect on the original document. This is particularly true for states such as Alabama and Massachusetts, which have no provision for integrating the text of amendments into the body of the original constitution. Like the U.S. Constitution, Massachusetts's even earlier 1780 constitution keeps its historic form because its 117 current amendments are simply appended rather than integrated into the original text. In 1917 Massachusetts tried to update its constitution and called a constitutional convention that corrected technical errors and integrated the amendments into the old text. Although the convention's efforts were approved at the polls in 1919, the state supreme court ruled that only the original version and individual amendments were controlling. Most other states integrate their amendments into the basic document, making reference to the current constitution much easier for citizens and lawyers alike.


    As James Madison intimated in his Federalist essay quoted at the beginning of this introduction, human nature can be both destructive and creative. This dualism has frustrated the efforts of humankind to live in peace, harmony, and cooperation. But as the “Father of the Constitution” obviously understood, constitutions, especially written ones, provide the noble side of our nature with the means to take charge of ourselves and to limit the ignoble side. With such a document people can thus resolve to control baser instincts that lead to absolutist rule, persecution of minorities and political dissenters, and arbitrary and capricious government decision making. Constitutional restraints facilitate a better society of human beings, thereby increasing both our chances for survival and opportunities for more citizens to have a materially richer and happier life.

    Like the constitutions of nations, state constitutions are similar in their fundamental aspects but varied in many of their details. The concept of federalism allows the great democratic experiment envisioned by the framers of the U.S. Constitution to be carried out a little differently in fifty jurisdictions at the same time. Each state has the freedom to make incremental adjustments to the nature of its constitutional democracy. These differences do not weaken the fabric of our national democracy; instead, they strengthen it by allowing innovation and change to occur incrementally without great nationwide debates or massive campaigns.

    Tinkering with the process of constitutional democracy in the American states has become a national pastime. The signals being sent by the citizens of the states are unclear. Obviously, efficient, just, honest, and responsive state government is the goal of the electorate, but just how to ensure this outcome through constitutional language is proving elusive. State constitutions have been subjected in some cases to hundreds of amendments, indicating that many of them are being called on to do more than just protecting the rights of the people and providing a basic structure and operational plan of government.

    The question being asked in the states, as in many countries, is, How can a constitution best be written to implement government of the people, for the people, and by the people? A single answer to this question may never be possible, but given their two centuries of constitutional democracy, Americans are uniquely qualified to work on this problem. Now that many rights and provisions that can improve the measure of justice and the quality of life for all are increasingly found only in state constitutions, the importance of these documents to all citizens has risen dramatically.

    State Government Structure

    State Constitutions and Amendments

    New State Rights and Special Provisions

  • Appendixes

    U.S. Constitution


    WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America.

    Article I

    Section 1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

    Section 2. The House of Representatives, shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.

    No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.

    Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and Georgia three.

    When vacancies happen in the representation from any state, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

    The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment.

    Section 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.

    Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and of the third class at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one-third may be chosen every second year; and if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess of the Legislature of any State, the executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies.

    No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen.

    The Vice President of the United States shall be president of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

    The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a president pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the United States.

    The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.

    Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States; but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.

    Section 4. The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.

    The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

    Section 5. Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each house may provide.

    Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.

    Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house on any question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.

    Neither house, during the session of Congress, shall without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.

    Section 6. The Senators and representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

    No Senator or representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no person holding any office under the United States, shall be a member of either house during his continuance in office.

    Section 7. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.

    Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that house in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that house, it shall become a law. But in all such cases the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.

    Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.

    Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states and with the Indian tribes;

    To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

    To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

    To establish post offices and post roads;

    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

    To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

    To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

    To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

    To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

    To provide and maintain a navy;

    To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

    To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square), as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines and arsenals, dock yards, and other needful buildings;—And

    To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

    Section 9. The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.

    The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

    No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.

    No capitation, or other direct, tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration hereinbefore directed to be taken.

    No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.

    No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one state over those of another; nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one state, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.

    No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.

    No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States; and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever from any king, prince or foreign state.

    Section 10. No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money, emit bills of credit; make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.

    No state shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws; and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any state on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the treasury of the United States; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress.

    No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.

    Article II

    Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows

    Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled in the Congress; but no Senator or representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.

    The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said house shall in like manner choose the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In every case after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the Vice President.

    The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.

    No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.

    In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what officer shall then act as President, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

    The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased or diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.

    Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:—“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Section 2. The President shall be commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

    He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law; but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

    The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.

    Section 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses, or either of them and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

    Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

    Article III

    Section 1. The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the Supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

    Section 2. The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;—to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;—to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;—to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;—to controversies between two or more states;—between a state and citizens of another state;—between citizens of different states;—between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

    In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

    The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.

    Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

    The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

    Article IV

    Section 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

    Section 2. The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.

    A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime.

    No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.

    Section 3. New states may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

    The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.

    Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.

    Article V

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendment to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress: Provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

    Article VI

    All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

    This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

    The Senators and representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious tests shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

    Article VII

    The ratification of the conventions of nine states shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the states so ratifying the same.…

    Amendments to the Constitution

    Article I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. [ratified 1791]

    Article II

    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. [ratified 1791]

    Article III

    No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. [ratified 1791]

    Article IV

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. [ratified 1791]

    Article V

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall he be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. [ratified 1791]

    Article VI

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusations; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. [ratified 1791]

    Article VII

    In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. [ratified 1791]

    Article VIII

    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. [ratified 1791]

    Article IX

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. [ratified 1791]

    Article X

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. [ratified 1791]

    Article XI

    The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state. [ratified 1798]

    Article XII

    The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;—The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;—The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice President, shall be the Vice President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President should be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States. [ratified 1804]

    Article XIII

    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. [ratified 1865]

    Article XIV

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

    Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each house, remove such disability.

    Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

    Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. [ratified 1868]

    Article XV

    Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

    Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. [ratified 1870]

    Article XVI

    The Congress shall have power to levy and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration. [ratified 1913]

    Article XVII

    The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures.

    When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointment until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

    This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution. [ratified 1913]

    Article XVIII

    Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

    Section 2. The Congress and the several states shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress. [ratified 1919; repealed 1933]

    Article XIX

    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

    Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. [ratified 1920]

    Article XX

    Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and representatives at noon on the 3rd day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

    Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3rd day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

    Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

    Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

    Section 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

    Section 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission. [ratified 1933]

    Article XXI

    Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

    Section 2. The transportation or importation into any state, territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

    Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress. [ratified 1933]

    Article XXII

    Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

    Section 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states by the Congress. [ratified 1951]

    Article XXIII

    Section 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:

    A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

    Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. [ratified 1961]

    Article XXIV

    Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

    Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. [ratified 1964]

    Article XXV

    Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

    Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both houses of Congress.

    Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as acting President.

    Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as acting President.

    Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office. [ratified 1967]

    Article XXVI

    Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

    Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. [ratified 1971]

    Article XXVII

    No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened. [ratified 1992]


    This text, except for capitalization and spelling, follows the arrangement of the reprint of the Constitution of the United States (5th edition, 1952), published by the Library of Congress.

    Table of Cases

    Applicable states and territories are indicated in brackets.

    Abercrombie v. McClung, 525 P.2d 594 (1974) [Hawaii]

    Adams v. Bolin, 247 P.2d 617 (1952) [Ariz.]

    Advisory Opinion to the Governor, In re, 688 A.2d 288 (1997) [R.I.]

    Alaskans for Legislative Reform v. State, 887 P.2d 960 (1994) [Alaska]

    Alderson v. County of Alleghany, 585 S.E.2d 795 (2003) [Va.]

    Alexander v. State, 441 So.2d 1329 (1983) [Miss.]

    Allen, People v., 42 N.Y. 378 (1870) [N.Y.]

    Allied Stores of Ohio, Inc. v. Bowers, 358 U.S. 522 (1959) [Ohio]

    Amador Valley Joint Union High School Dist. v. State Bd. of Equalization, 583 P.2d 1281 (1978) [Calif.]

    American Fork City v. Crosgrove, 701 P.2d 1069 (1985) [Utah]

    Americans United v. Rogers, 538 S.W.2d 711 (1976) [Mo.]

    Anderson, People v., 493 P.2d 880 (1972) [Calif.]

    Anderson v. Ritterbusch, 98 P. 1002 (1908) [Okla.]

    Andrews, State v., 186 A.2d 546 (1962) [Conn.]

    Apkin v. Treasurer & Receiver General, 517 N.E.2d 141 (1988) [Mass.]

    Application of Nelson, 163 N.W.2d 533 (1968) [S.D.]

    Arkansas v. Sullivan, 532 U.S. 769 (2001) [Ark.]

    Arnett v. Meredith, 121 S.W.2d 36 (1938) [Ky.]

    Attorney General v. Waldron, 426 A.2d 929 (1981) [Md.]

    Auditor of Public Accounts, Ex parte, 609 S.W.2d 682 (1980) [Ky.]

    Austin v. New Hampshire, 420 U.S. 656 (1975) [N.H.]

    Austin, Nichols & Co. v. Okl. Cty. Bd., etc., 578 P.2d 1200 (1978) [Okla.]

    Bader v. State, 40 S.W.3d 738 (2001) [Ark.]

    Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44 (1993) [Hawaii]

    Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962) [Fla., Mich., and Tenn.]

    Barnes v. New Haven, 98 A.2d 523 (1953) [Conn.]

    Barron v. Baltimore, 32 U.S. 243 (1833) [Md.]

    Batchelder v. Allied Stores International, Inc., 445 N.E.2d 590 (1983) [Mass.]

    Batts, People v., 68 P.3d 357 (2003) [Calif.]

    Beals v. Washington Int'l., Inc., 386 A.2d 1156 (1978) [Del.]

    Becker, State v., 287 A.2d 580 (1972) [Vt.]

    Beirkamp v. Rogers, 293 N.W.2d 577 (1980) [Iowa]

    Belmont Fire Protection District, In re, 489 N.E.2d 1385 (1986) [Ill.]

    Bergdoll v. Commonwealth, 858 A.2d 185 (2004) [Pa.]

    Bess v. Ulmer, 985 P.2d 979 (1999) [Alaska]

    Bester v. Louisiana Sup. Ct. Committee on Bar Admission, 779 So.2d 715 (2001) [La.]

    Biggs v. State Dept. of Retirement Systems, 622 P.2d 1301 (1981) [Wash.]

    Blue v. State, 558 P.2d 636 (1977) [Alaska]

    Bonet v. Texas Co., 308 U.S. 463 (1940) [Puerto Rico]

    Bonomo v. Louisiana Downs, Inc., 337 So.2d 553 (1976) [La.]

    A Book Named “John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure” v. Attorney General of Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 383 U.S. 413 (1966) [Fla.]

    Boomer v. Olsen, 10 N.W.2d 507 (1943) [Neb.]

    Borja v. Goodman, 1 N. Mar. I. 63 (1990) [Northern Marianas]

    Bradner v. Hammond, 553 P.2d 1 (1976) [Alaska]

    Brashars v. Commonwealth, 25 S.W.3d 58 (2000) [Ky.]

    Brickell v. Board of Education, 508 P.2d 996 (1973) [Kans.]

    Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) [Kans., Ky., Miss., and Mo.]

    Brown v. City of Galveston, 75 S.W. 488 (1903) [Tex.]

    Brown v. State, 358 So.2d 16 (1978) [Fla.]

    Brown v. Todd, 53 S.W.3d 297 (2001) [Tex.]

    Bryant, v. State, 581 S.E.2d 157 (2003) [S.C.]

    Bullet Hole, Inc. v. Dunbar, 763 A.2d 295 (2000) [N.J.]

    Burckhard, State v., 579 N.W.2d 195 (1998) [N.D.]

    Busik v. Levine, 307 A.2d (1973) 571 [N.J.]

    Calder v. Bull, 3 Dallas 386 (1798) [Conn.]

    Capitol Distrib. Co. v. Redwine, 57 S.E.2d 578 (1950) [Ga.]

    Cardenas-Alvarez, State v., 25 P.3d 225 (2001) [N.M.]

    Cardiff v. Bismarck Public School District, 263 N.W.2d 105 (1978) [N.D.]

    Carrillo, Matter of, 542 S.W.2d 105 (1976) [Tex.]

    Carruthers, State v., 35 S.W.3d 516 (2000) [Tenn.]

    Carter, People v., 741 N.E.2d 255 (2000) [Ill.]

    Cassidy v. Willis, 323 A.2d 598 (1974) [Del.]

    Chenault v. Carter, 332 S.W.2d 623 (1960) [Ky.]

    Chisolm v. Georgia, 2 Dallas 419 (1793) [Ga.]

    Chittenden Town School Dist. v. Dept. of Educ., 738 A.2d 539 (1999) [Vt.]

    City of_____ (see name of city)

    Clarke v. Growe, 461 N.W.2d 385 (1990) [Minn.]

    Class, People v., 494 N.E.2d 444 (1986) [N.Y.]

    Cline, State v., 617 N.W.2d 277 (2000) [Iowa]

    Coalition for Political Honesty v. State Board of Elections, 359 N.E.2d 138 (1976) [Ill.]

    Coe, State v., 679 P.2d 353 (1984) [Wash.]

    Collins v. State, 750 A.2d 1257 (2000) [Maine]

    Colorado v. Nunez, 465 U.S. 324 (1984) [Colo.]

    Commonwealth v._____ (see opposing party)

    Commonwealth ex rel. v._____ (see opposing party)

    Conard v. State, 16 A.2d 121 (1940) [Del.]

    Conservatorship of ______ (see name of party)

    Constitutionality of House Bill No. 222, In re, 90 S.W.2d 692 (1936) [Ky.]

    Cook v. Gralike, 531 U.S. 510 (2001) [Mo.]

    Couch v. Delmarva Power & Light Co., 593 A.2d 554 (1991) [Del.]

    County of_____ (see name of county)

    Cox v. New Hampshire, 312 U.S. 569 (1941) [N.H.]

    Crandall v. Nevada, 6 Wallace 35 (1868) [Nev.]

    C. S., In the Interest of, 516 N.W.2d 851 (1994) [Iowa]

    Cudihee v. Phelps, 136 P. 367 (1913) [Wash.]

    Culotta, State v., 343 So.2d 977 (1976) [La.]

    Dade County, State ex rel. v. Dickinson, 230 So.2d 130 (1969) [Fla.]

    Delaware v. Van Arsdall, 475 U.S. 673 (1986) [Del.]

    Derango, State v., 613 N.W.2d 833 (2000) [Wis.]

    District of Columbia v. American Federation of Government Employees, 619 A.2d 77 (1993) [D.C.]

    DKM Richmond Assoc. v. City of Richmond, 457 S.E.2d 76 (1995) [Va.]

    Doak v. Milbauer, 343 N.W.2d 751 (1984) [Neb.]

    Donato, State v., 20 P.3d 5 (2001) [Idaho]

    Douglas, State ex rel. v. Sporhase, 305 N.W.2d 614 (1981) [Neb.]

    Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244 (1901) [Puerto Rico]

    Duggan v. Beerman, 544 N.W.2d 68 (1996) [Neb.]

    Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 (1968) [La.]

    Edgewood Independent School District v. Kirby, 777 S.W.2d 391 (1989) [Tex.]

    Evans v. Tuttle, 613 N.E.2d 854 (1993) [Ind.]

    Ex parte_____ (see name of party)

    Facilitec, Inc. v. Hibbs, 80 P.3d 765 (2003) [Ariz.]

    Farmington, Township of, Oakland County, v. Scott, 132 N.W.2d 607 (1965) [Mich.]

    Ferguson v. Watkins, 448 So.2d 271 (1984) [Miss.]

    Flora v. White, 692 F.2d 53 (1982) [Ark.]

    Florida v. Casal, 462 U.S. 636 (1983) [Fla.]

    Forte Bros. v. State DOT, 541 A.2d 1194 (1988) [R.I.]

    Foster v. Sunnyside Valley Irr. Dist., 687 P.2d 841 (1984) [Wash.]

    Four Maple Drive Realty Corp. v. Abrams, 2 A.D.2d 753 (N.Y.) (1956) [N.Y.]

    Friedrich, State ex rel. v. Circuit Court for Dane County, 531 N.W.2d 32 (1995) [Wis.]

    Gafford v. Pemberton, 409 So.2d 1367 (1982) [Ala.]

    Gaito, Commonwealth v., 419 A.2d 1208 (1980) [Pa.]

    Gallwey, State ex rel., v. Grimm, 48 P.3d 274 (2004) [Wash.]

    Gamel v. Veterans Memorial Auditorium Commission, 272 N.W.2d 472 (1978) [Iowa]

    Gay Law Students Association v. Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, 595 P.2d 592 (1979) [Calif.]

    G. H., In the Interest of, 218 N.W.2d 441 (1974) [N.D.]

    Gilliard v. Mississippi, 464 U.S. 867 (1983) [Miss.]

    Goldberg v. Eighth Judicial District Court, 572 P.2d 521 (1977) [Nev.]

    Gordon, State ex rel. v. Zangerle, 26 N.E.2d 190 (1940) [Ohio]

    Grantz v. Grauman, 302 S.W.2d 364 (1957) [Ky.]

    Grawien, State v., 362 N.W.2d 428 (1985) [Wis.]

    Gray v. State, 525 P.2d 524 (1974) [Alaska]

    Green v. Rawls, 122 So.2d 10 (1960) [Fla.]

    Grice, People v., 794 N.E.2d 9 (2003) [N.Y.]

    Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965) [Conn.]

    Grossman v. State Department of Natural Resources, 682 P.2d 1319 (1984) [Mont.]

    Guardianship of L. W., Matter of, 482 N.W.2d 60 (1992) [Wis.]

    H. A. Bosworth & Son, Inc. v. Tamiola, 190 A.2d 506 (1963) [Conn.]

    Haig, State ex rel. v. Hauge, 164 N.W. 289 (1917) [N.D.]

    Hainkel v. Henry, 313 So.2d 577 (1975) [La.]

    Halbach, State ex rel. v. Claussen, 250 N.W. 195 (1933) [Iowa]

    Hall, State v., 487 A.2d 166 (1984) [Vt.]

    Ham v. Holy Rosary Hosp., 529 P.2d 361 (1974) [Mont.]

    Hamdan, State v., 665 N.W.2d 785 (2003) [Wis.]

    Hance, State ex rel. v. Arizona Bd. of Pardons, 875 P.2d 824 (1993) [Ariz.]

    Hancock, Commonwealth ex rel. v. Paxton, 516 S.W.2d 865 (1974) [Ky.]

    Hankins v. State of Hawaii, 639 F. Supp. 1552 (1986) [Hawaii]

    Harberts, State v., 11 P.3d 641 (2000) [Ore.]

    Haycraft, State v., 530 P.2d 528 (1975) [Ore.]

    Hayes v. Gill, 473 P.2d 872 (1970) [Hawaii]

    Heck's, Inc., State ex rel. v. Gates, 141 S.E.2d 369 (1965) [W. Va.]

    Henry v. Cherry & Webb, 73 A. 97 (1909) [R.I.]

    Hollinger, State v., 337 A.2d 326 (1975) [Del.]

    Holmes v. Farmer, 475 A.2d 976 (1984) [R.I.]

    Humphrey's Executors v. United States, 295 U.S. 602 (1935) [La.]

    Hunter v. Underwood, 471 U.S. 222 (1985) [Ala.]

    In re_____ (see name of party)

    In the Interest of_____ (see name of party)

    Initiative Petition No. 336, In re, 46 P.3d 123 (2002) [Okla.]

    Interlachen Lake Estates, Inc. v. Snyder, 304 So.2d 433 (1973) [Fla.]

    Iowa Civil Liberties Union v. Critelli, 244 N.W.2d 564 (1976) [Iowa]

    Jefferson v. State, 527 P.2d 37 (1974) [Alaska]

    Jewette, State v., 500 A.2d 233 (1985) [Vt.]

    Johanson v. Fischer, 808 P.2d 1083 (1991) [Utah]

    Johnson v. State, 711 A.2d 18 (1998) [Del.]

    Johnson v. State, 61 P.3d 1324 (2003) [Wyo.]

    Johnson, State ex rel. v. Crane, 197 P.2d 864 (1948) [Wyo.]

    Jordan v. Deery, 778 N.E.2d 1264 (2002) [Ind.]

    Judicial Conduct Committee, 751 A.2d 514 (2000) [N.H.]

    Julius v. Callahan, 65 N.W. 267 (1895) [Minn.]

    Kadan v. Board of Supervisiors of Elections of Baltimore County, 329 A.2d 702 (1974) [Md.]

    Kahalekai v. Doi, 590 P.2d 543 (1979) [Hawaii]

    Kaiser v. Whitehall, 718 P.2d 1341 (1986) [Mont.]

    Kalodimos v. Village of Morton Grove, 470 N.E.2d 266 (1984) [Ill.]

    Kansas v. Colorado, 206 U.S. 46 (1907) [Kans.]

    Kansas Malpractice Coalition v. Bell, 757 P.2d 251 (1988) [Kans.]

    Kearns, State v., 556 S.E.2d 812 (2001) [W. Va.]

    Kelly v. Kalodner, 181 A. 598 (1935) [Del.]

    Kempf's Will, In re, 252 App. Div. 28 (N.Y.) (1937) [N.Y.]

    King v. Andrus, 452 F. Supp. 11 (1977) [American Samoa]

    King v. Morton, 520 F.2d 1140 (1975) [American Samoa]

    Kline, ex rel. State v. Unified Board of Comm's, 85 P.3d 1237 (2004) [Kans.]

    League of Oregon Cities v. State, 56 P.3d 892 (2001) [Ore.]

    Leonardis, State v., 375 A.2d 607 (1977) [N.J.]

    Levin v. Whalen, 349 N.E.2d 820 (1976) [N.Y.]

    Libertarian Party of Wisconsin v. State, 546 N.W.2d 424 (1996) [Wis.]

    Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905) [N.Y.]

    Lopez Tijerina v. Henry, 48 F.R.D. 274 (1969) [N.M.]

    Loring v. Young, 132 N.E. 65 (1921) [Mass.]

    Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) [S.C.]

    Lucas v. People of the State of Michigan, 420 F.2d 259 (1970) [Mich.]

    Lukehart v. State, 776 S.2d 906 (2001) [Fla.]

    Luker v. Curtis, 136 P.2d 978 (1943) [Idaho]

    Luther v. Borden, 7 Howard 1 (1849) [R.I.]

    Lyons v. Spaeth, 20 N.W.2d 481 (1945) [Minn.]

    Mabuti, State v., 807 P.2d 1264 (1991) [Hawaii]

    Mack v. City of Detroit, 649 N.W.2d 47 (2002) [Mich.]

    Maddox v. Fortson, 172 S.E.2d 595 (1970) [Ga.]

    Magnolia Bar Ass'n, Inc. v. Lee, 793 F. Supp. 1386 (1992) [Miss.]

    Mallard, State v., 40 S.W.3d 473 (2001)[Tenn.]

    Maloney, State ex rel. v. McCartney, 223 S.E.2d 607 (1976) [W. Va.]

    M.A.P., State v., 281 N.W.2d 334 (1979) [Minn.]

    Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961) [Ohio]

    Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137 (1803) [Conn.]

    Marks v. Vehlow, 671 P.2d 473 (1983) [Idaho]

    Marquardt, Matter of, 778 P.2d 241 (1989) [Ariz.]

    Martello, State v., 780 N.E. 250 (2002) [Ohio]

    Martin, State v., 213 A.2d 459 (1965) [Conn.]

    Mathieu v. Bath Iron Works, 667 A.2d 862 (1995) [Maine]

    Matter of_____ (see name of party)

    Matthews, State v., 153 S.E.2d 791 (1967) [N.C.]

    Mattson, State ex rel. v. Kiedrowski, 391 N.W.2d 777 (1986) [Minn.]

    McCahill, State v., 811 A.2d 667 (2002) [Conn.]

    McClusky v. Hunter, 266 P. 18 (1928) [Ariz.]

    McGraw, State ex rel. v. Willis, 323 S.E.2d 600 (1984) [W. Va.]

    McInnis v. Cooper Communities, Inc., 611 S.W.2d 767 (1981) [Ark.]

    McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U.S. 637 (1950) [Okla.]

    McLeod, State ex rel. v. McLeod, 243 S.E.2d 446 (1978) [S.C.]

    McNeal, State v., 6 P.3d 1005 (2000) [Okla.]

    Mears v. Hall, 569 S.W.2d 91 (1978) [Ark.]

    Melof, Ex parte, 735 S.2d 1172 (1999) [Ala.]

    Meredith, Commonwealth ex rel. v. Hall, 126 S.W.2d 1056 (1939) [Ky.]

    Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency v. Leech, 591 S.W.2d 427 (1979) [Tenn.]

    Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414 (1988) [Colo.]

    Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923) [Neb.]

    Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032 (1983) [Mich.]

    Miers, Ex parte, 64 S.W.2d 778 (1933) [Tex.]

    Miller, State v., 630 A.2d 1315 (1993) [Conn.]

    Miller v. State, 555 S.W.2d 563 (1977) [Ark.]

    Miller v. State, 471 P.2d 213 (1970) [Nev.]

    Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) [Ariz.]

    Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416 (1920) [Mo.]

    Missouri v. Iowa, 7 Howard 861 (1849) & 10 Howard 1 (1850) [Iowa]

    Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 (1938) [Mo.]

    Mitchem v. State ex rel. Schaub, 250 So.2d 883 (1971) [Fla.]

    Mohr, In re, 32 P.3d 647 (2001) [Hawaii]

    Monaco v. Mississippi, 292 U.S. 313 (1934) [Miss.]

    Montana v. Jackson, 460 U.S. 1030 (1983) [Mont.]

    Moodie, State ex rel. v. Bryan, 39 So. 929 (1905) [Fla.]

    Moore v. Shanahan, 486 P.2d 506 (1971) [Kans.]

    Moore v. Sumter County Council, 387 S.E.2d 455 (1990) [S.C.]

    Morgan, State v., 48 N.W. 314 (1891) [S.D.]

    Morris, State v., 378 N.E.2d 708 (1978) [Ohio]

    Mountain Fuel Supply Company v. Emerson, 578 P.2d 1351 (1978) [Wyo.]

    Municipal Suffrage to Women, In re, 36 N.E. 488 (1894) [Mass.]

    Munn v. Illinois, 94 U.S. 113 (1877) [Ill.]

    Nantucket Conservation Foundation, Inc. v. Russell Management, Inc., 402 N.E.2d 501 (1980) [Mass.]

    National Hearing Aid Centers, Inc. v. Smith, 376 A.2d 456 (1977) [Maine]

    Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (1931) [Minn.]

    Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S. 502 (1934) [N.Y.]

    Nesbitt, State v., 650 N.W.2d 766 (2002) [Neb.]

    New York State Ass'n of Criminal Defense Lawyers v. Kaye, 744 N.E.2d 123 (2000) [N.Y.]

    Nicholson v. Judicial Retirement and Removal Comm., 562 S.W.2d 306 (1978) [Ky.]

    North Ridge General Hospital, Inc. v. City of Oakland Park, 374 So.2d 461 (1979) [Fla.]

    Olsen v. Nebraska, 313 U.S. 236 (1941) [Neb.]

    Oneida, County of v. Berle, 404 N.E.2d 133 (1980) [N.Y.]

    Opinion of the Justices, 379 So.2d 939 (1980) [Ala.]

    Opinion of the Justices, 261 A.2d 58 (1970) [Maine]

    Opinion of the Justices, 81 So.2d 881 (1955) [Ala.]

    Opinion of the Justices, 125 N.E. 849 (1920) [Mass.]

    Opinion of the Justices of the House of Representatives, 696 N.E.2d 502 (1998) [Mass.]

    Opinion to the Governor, In re, 178 A. 433 (1935) [R.I.]

    Oregon v. Kennedy, 456 U.S. 667 (1982) [Ore.]

    Otto v. Buck, 295 P.2d 1028 (1956) [N.M.]

    Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Co. v. State of Oregon, 223 U.S. 118 (1912) [Ore.]

    Paisner v. Atty. Gen., 458 N.E.2d 734 (1983) [Mass.]

    Palka v. Walker, 198 A. 265 (1938) [Conn.]

    Palmore v. U.S., 441 U.S. 389 (1973) [D.C.]

    Pate, People v., 71 P.3d 1005 (2003) [Colo.]

    Pate v. State, 429 P.2d 542 (1967) [Okla.]

    Patrolmen's Benevolent Ass'n of the City of New York, Inc. v. City of New York, 767 N.E.2d 116 (2001) [N.Y.]

    Pawtucket, City of v. Sundlun, 662 A.2d 40 (1995) [R.I.]

    Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106 (1977) [Vt.]

    Pennsylvania Labor Relations Bd., Commonwealth v., 388 A.2d 736 (1978) [Pa.]

    People v._____ (see opposing party)

    People ex rel. v._____ (see opposing party)

    Peoples, In re, 250 S.E.2d 890 (1978) [N.C.]

    Peper v. Princeton, 389 A.2d 465 (1978) [N.J.]

    Perry v. Decker, 457 A.2d 357 (1983) [Del.]

    Pinana v. State, 352 P.2d 824 (1960) [Nev.]

    Pinnick v. Cleary, 271 N.E.2d 592 (1971) [Mass.]

    Plumb v. Christie, 30 S.E. 759 (1898) [Ga.]

    Prentis v. Atlantic Coast Line, 211 U.S. 210 (1908) [Va.]

    Priest, People v., 99 N.E. 547 (1912) [N.Y.]

    Purcell, People v., 778 N.E.2d 695 (2002) [Ill.]

    Rakus v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128 (1978) [Hawaii]

    Ravin v. State, 537 P.2d 494 (1975) [Alaska]

    Reapportionment of Towns of Hartland, Windsor and West Windsor, In re, 624 A.2d 323 (1993) [Vt.]

    Reed, State v., 811 P.2d 1163 (1991) [Kans.]

    Rees, State v., 748 A.2d 976 (2000) [Maine]

    The Regents of the University of Michigan v. State, 235 N.W.2d 1 (1975) [Mich.]

    Reynolds, State ex rel. v. Zimmerman, 126 N.W.2d 551 (1964) [Wis.]

    Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964) [Tenn.]

    Reynolds v. State Election Board, 233 F. Supp. 323 (1964) [Okla.]

    Right to Choose v. Byrne, 450 A.2d 925 (1982) [N.J.]

    Robinson v. Cahill, 303 A.2d 273 (1973) [N.J.]

    Roeschlein v. Thomas, 280 N.E.2d 581 (1972) [Ind.]

    Roman v. Sincock, 377 U.S. 695 (1964) [Del.]

    Romer v. Colorado General Assembly, 840 P.2d 1081 (1992) [Colo.]

    Romer v. Evans, 116 S. Ct. 1620 (1996) [Colo.]

    San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973) [N.J.]

    Sanstead, State ex rel. v. Freed, 251 N.W.2d 898 (1977) [N.D.]

    Schowgurow v. Maryland, 213 A.2d 475 (1965) [Md.]

    Scott, State v., 585 S.E.2d 1 (2003) [W. Va.]

    Scudder v. Smith, 200 A. 601 (1938) [Pa.]

    Sego, State ex rel. v. Kirkpatrick, 524 P.2d 975 (1974) [N.M.]

    Serrano v. Priest, 557 P.2d 929 (1976) [Calif.]

    Settle, State v., 447 A.2d 1284 (1982) [N.H.]

    Shaheed v. Winston, 885 F. Supp 861 (1995) [Va.]

    Shields v. Gerhart, 658 A.2d 924 (1995) [Vt.]

    Silo v. CHW Medical Foundation, 45 P.3d 1162 (2002) [Calif.]

    Simeone v. Charron, 762 A.2d 442 (2000) [R.I.]

    Simon, People ex rel. v. Bradley, 101 N.E. 766 (1913) [N.Y.]

    Smith, State ex rel. v. Gore, 143 S.E.2d 791 (1965) [W. Va.]

    Smith, State v., 75 P.3d 934 (2003) [Wash.]

    Smith v. Davis, 426 S.W.2d 827 (1968) [Tex.]

    Sneed v. Greensboro City Bd. of Ed., 264 S.E.2d 106 (1980) [N.C.]

    Snyder v. Murray City Corp., 73 P.3d 325 (2003) [Utah]

    S.O.C., Inc. v. Mirage-Casino-Hotel, 23 P.3d 243 (2001) [Nev.]

    South Dakota v. North Carolina, 192 U.S. 286 (1904) [N.C.]

    South Dakota Association of Tobacco and Candy Distributors v. State by and through Department of Revenue, 280 N.W.2d 662 (1979) [S.D.]

    Spire, State ex rel. v. Conway, 472 N.W. 403 (1991) [Neb.]

    Sprague, State v., 824 A.2d 539 (2003) [Vt.]

    Springer v. Government of the Philippine Islands, 277 U.S. 189 (1928) [N.J.]

    Standard Drug Co. v. General Electric, 117 S.E.2d 289 (1960) [Va.]

    Stanley v. Darlington County School Dist., 879 F. Supp 1341 (1995) [S.C.]

    Stanton v. Stanton, 421 U.S. 7 (1975) [Utah]

    Staples v. Gilmer, 33 S.E.2d 49 (1945) [Va.]

    State v._____ (see opposing party)

    State ex rel. v. (see opposing party)

    Steady, In re, 641 A.2d 117 (1994) [Vt.]

    Stevenson, State ex rel. v. Tufly, 12 P. 835 (1887) [Nev.]

    Sutton, State v., 816 P.2d 518 (1991) [N.M.]

    Succession of Brown, 388 So.2d 1151 (1980) [La.]

    Sweeny v. Otter, 804 P.2d 308 (1990) [Idaho]

    Tau'a, State v., 49 P.3d 1227 (2002) [Hawaii]

    Taylor v. Worrell Enterprises, Inc., 409 S.E.2d 136 (1991) [Va.]

    Tennessee v. Davis, 100 U.S. 257 (1879) [Tenn.]

    Thomas J., In re, 811 A.2d 310 (2001) [Md.]

    Todd, State v., 468 N.W.2d 462 (1991) [Iowa]

    Towns v. Suttles, 69 S.E.2d 742 (1952) [Ga.]

    Township of_____ (see name of township)

    Travelers' Insurance Co. v. Marshall, 76 S.W.2d 1007 (1934) [Tex.]

    Trenton, City of v. New Jersey, 262 U.S. 182 (1923) [N.J.]

    Trombetta v. State of Florida, 353 F. Supp 575 (1973) [Fla.]

    Tucker v. State, 35 N.E.2d 270 (1941) [Ind.]

    Tucson Elec. Power Co. v. Apache County, 912 P.2d 9 (1996) [Ariz.]

    Tusculum College v. State Board of Equalization, 600 S.W.2d 739 (1980) [Tenn.]

    UMW v. Parsons, 305 S.E. 343 (1983) [W. Va.]

    U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 115 S. Ct. 1842 (1995) [Colo. and S.D.]

    Van Bergen v. State of Minn., 59 F.3d 1541 (1995) [Minn.]

    Vermont Educational Buildings Financing Agency v. Mann, 247 A.2d 68 (1968) [Vt.]

    Vogel, State ex rel. v. Garaas, 261 N.W.2d 914 (1978) [N.D.]

    Voss, State ex rel. v. Davis, 418 S.W.2d 163 (1967) [Mo.]

    Wagner v. Secretary of State, 663 A.2d 564 (1995) [Maine]

    Walker v. Baker, 196 S.W.2d 324 (1946) [Tex.]

    Walker v. State, 68 P.3d 872 (2003) [Mont.]

    Washburn v. Thomas, 616 A.2d 495 (1992) [N.H.]

    Weigand, State v., 645 N.W.2d 125 (2002) [Minn.]

    Wein v. State of New York, 347 N.E.2d 586 (1976) [N.Y.]

    Wendland, Conservatorship of, 28 P.3d 151 (2001) [Calif.]

    Western Pennsylvania Socialist Workers 1982 Campaign v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, 515 A.2d 1331 (1986) [Pa.]

    Wharton v. State, 590 P.2d 427 (1979) [Alaska]

    White, State ex rel. v. Hathaway, 478 P.2d 56 (1970) [Wyo.]

    White v. Manchin, 318 S.E.2d 470 (1984) [W. Va.]

    White v. State, 842 So.2d 565 (2003) [Miss.]

    Wier, State ex rel. v. Peterson, 369 A.2d 1076 (1976) [Del.]

    Williams v. Coppola, 549 A.2d 1092 (1986) [Conn.]

    Williams v. Georgia, 349 U.S. 375 (1955) [Ga.]

    Williams v. Mississippi, 170 U.S. 213 (1898) [Miss.]

    Williams v. State, 88 S.E.2d 376 (1955) [Ga.]

    Wilson, Commonwealth v., 712 A.2d 735 (1998) [Pa.]

    Wilson, State v., 322 N.W.2d 866 (1982) [S.D.]

    Wilson, State v., 618 N.W.2d 513 (2000) [S.D.]

    Winterberry v. Salisbury, 74 A.2d 406 (1950) [N.J.]

    Wisconsin Senate, State ex rel. v. Thompson, 424 N.W.2d 385 (1988) [Wis.]

    Withee v. Lane & Libby Fisheries Co., 113 A. 22 (1921) [Maine]

    Wolf, State v., 577 S.E.2d 655 (2003) [N.C.]

    Wolman v. Walter, 433 U.S. 229 (1977) [Ohio]

    Young, State v., 853 P.2d 327 (1993) [Utah]


    Ad valorum (Latin: “according to value”). Taxation based on the value of an item.

    Address. A legislature's formal request that a chief executive perform an act such as removing a judge or justice.

    Allodial. Land that is free of obligation; the opposite of feudal tenure.

    Appeal. A legal proceeding in which a superior court is asked to review and change a decision of an inferior court.

    Attainder. Under English law, punishment that extinguished civil rights and required forfeiture of property by a person found guilty of a felony or treason.

    Behavior modification. The process (similar to behavior therapy) of changing a person's behavior—specifically abnormal or maladaptive behavior patterns—by means of positive and negative reinforcement.

    Body corporate. A corporation.

    Breach of the peace. A violation of public tranquility and order, often by riotous, forcible, or unlawful acts.

    Cabinet. The heads of government departments. In parliamentary governments, as in the United Kingdom, cabinet members, known as ministers, are chosen from the parliament; their approval is required for major actions by the prime minister. In the United States, a federal government, heads of departments in the executive branch are chosen by the president and confirmed by the Senate; heads of executive branch departments in the states may be elected statewide when the governor is elected or appointed by the governor or the legislature.

    Casting vote. The privilege of the presiding officer of a legislature to cast a vote when the votes are equally divided.

    Censure. Reprimand, expulsion, or other action taken by a legislature against a member for improper behavior. Originally, the sentence of disgrace imposed by a Roman censor on a citizen for disreputable conduct.

    Certiorari (Latin: “to be informed of ”). A writ or legal instrument issued by a superior court to an inferior court to send a matter to the superior court for review.

    Chancery.See Equity

    Common law. A legal tradition developed in Great Britain in which legal precedent derives from decisions of courts of law, rather than from equity law or civil code law.

    Commutation. The reduction of a sentence after conviction.

    Contempt. An improper act or a refusal to follow an order of a court or legislature that may form the basis for punishment.

    Contingent fee. Payment for legal services based on a percentage of the award obtained from the services provided rather than a set fee or one based on an hourly rate.

    Conviction. A final judgment of a court that a person has been found guilty of a crime.

    Corruption of the blood. The deprivation of a person's right to pass title to property or to sue in court; a result of attainder.

    Council of state. A body that advises the head of a government; an executive council.

    Disseized. To be deprived of possession of real property.

    Domicile. A person's legal or permanent residence.

    Emolument. Profit or gain from an office or employment.

    En banc.See In banc

    Entailment. Interference with ordinary inheritance procedures by limiting how property is to descend.

    Equity. A system of law that developed in the English chancery courts (also called equity courts) in which remedies not available under common law could be granted on the basis of fairness.

    Ex parte (Latin: “of the one part”). A legal proceeding in which there is only one party.

    Ex post facto law (Latin: “after the occurrence”). A law passed after an act has been committed that makes the act illegal.

    Ex rel (Latin: “upon information from”). A legal proceeding by a state official at the instigation of an interested private party.

    Feudal tenure. An entitlement to real property based on rights and responsibilities between a property holder and the feudal lord.

    Frame of government. The structure and procedures of government; a constitution establishing a system of government.

    Freehold. The ownership of real property for an uncertain duration as determined by the document conveying rights to it; not a leasehold. For example, the deed or title document may specify “in fee simple” or “for the life of the grantee” or another person.

    Good behavior. Proper conduct. Judges and justices who hold office “during good behavior” have no fixed term of office.

    Grand jury. A panel consisting of twelve to twenty-three persons who decide, on the basis of evidence presented to them, whether a person should be indicted for a crime. See also Petit jury

    Habeas corpus (Latin: “you have the body”). A writ or legal instrument developed in England to bring an imprisoned person to court and explain the legal basis for the person's detention.

    Hereditary emolument. Payment for an office or employment that can be inherited.

    High crimes and misdemeanors. Serious unlawful acts that technically do not constitute a felony; more serious and aggravated misdemeanors.

    Honoraria. Payments to professionals in lieu of fees that are legally or traditionally required.

    In banc (Latin: “in the bench”). Sitting as a full bench or court of all the judges.

    Indefeasible. Something that cannot be defeated, revoked, or voided.

    Indictment. A formal statement from a grand jury charging a person with the commission of a crime.

    Information. A written set of accusations, such as an indictment, filed by a prosecutor directly charging a person with the commission of a crime.

    Injunction. A writ prohibiting an action.

    Interlocutory. Temporary; not final.

    Joint resolution. A measure, other than a law, passed by both houses of a bicameral legislature.

    Judicatories. Courts of law or justice.

    Law of descent. The legal rules for succession of ownership of an estate on the death of the owner.

    Letters patent. A grant by a sovereign under seal and delivered open, rather than closed to avoid inspection.

    Magistracy. Broadly, a body of public officials; more narrowly, officials charged with the application and execution of the laws.

    Majority. More than half. In an election with two candidates, the one who receives the most votes has a majority. In elections of three or more candidates, the candidate with more than one-half is said to have the majority of the votes; a candidate with the most votes but less than one-half has a plurality of the votes. A simple majority consists of at least one-half plus one of the votes cast. An absolute majority requires no fewer than one-half plus one of all the votes possible, even if some votes are not cast. A super-majority is a majority greater than one-half plus one of the votes.

    Malfeasance. The execution of an act without the right to do so. See also Misfeasance

    Mandamus (Latin: “we command”). A writ or legal instrument from a court of superior jurisdiction directed to a public or private official, commanding that an act be done.

    Misdemeanor. In criminal law, a lesser criminal offense than a felony.

    Misfeasance. The improper performance of a rightful act. See also Malfeasance

    Money bill. A legislative act raising revenue or making an appropriation.

    Moral turpitude. A base, vile, or depraved act that is contrary to accepted moral principles of society.

    Non compos mentis (Latin: “not sound of mind”). Insane.

    Of counsel. An attorney associated with the principal attorney retained by a client to handle a particular matter.

    Ordinance. A rule or law; more specifically, the enactment of a municipal legislative body. Also, an enactment that serves as an organic law but does not have the status of a constitution.

    Parliament. The legislature in a parliamentary system of government, composed of elected representatives who fill one or two houses or chambers; the lower house is generally the more representative and has the greater power. A parliamentary system also includes a cabinet of ministers and a prime minister who is approved by the parliament as head of government. A parliament is theoretically the supreme branch of government, whereas a congress is one of at least three coequal branches of government.

    Perpetuities. Procedures that keep property from being disposable at any time and therefore violate public policy. Rules against perpetuities bar an interest in property from coming into existence twenty-one years after the death of a living person.

    Petit jury. The jury in a trial, generally consisting of fewer members than a grand jury. See also Grand jury

    Plenary. Full or complete. Plenary power is complete power; a plenary session is one that all members attend.

    Plural executive branch. An executive branch of government in which the governor and usually a lieutenant governor must share power with other elected officials such as a secretary of state and an attorney general.

    Pocket veto. A refusal by a chief executive to endorse a measure passed by the legislature or to return it with a formal veto before adjournment. The action prevents the legislature from overriding the veto and ensures the measure's failure.

    Poll tax. A tax on registered voters, regardless of the amount of a person's property, used in some states at one time to preclude poor persons, especially blacks, from voting.

    Precedent. A judicial decision used as the basis of a future judicial decision.

    Presentment. An informal report by a grand jury on an investigation of a public official's action or a report by a grand jury based on an offense derived from the jurors' own knowledge; not a formal indictment.

    Primogeniture. The superiority or exclusive right of a first-born son.

    Privy council. A body that advises a head of state or monarch, particularly in the United Kingdom, where the term originated.

    Pro tempore (Latin: “for the time being”). A member of a body who acts temporarily in the absence of the legally designated presiding officer—for example, a member of a state senate who acts in place of the constitutionally designated president of that body,

    the lieutenant governor.

    Procedendo (Latin: “to be proceeded in”). A writ or legal instrument issued by a superior court to an inferior court in a matter previously removed to the superior court by a writ of certiorari. It returns the matter and directs the inferior court to proceed to determine the matter.

    Procedural rules and laws. Regulations and acts that prescribe how substantive rules or laws are to be administered. See also Substantive rules and laws

    Prorogue. To direct that a legislative session be terminated.

    Quasi-judicial. A function or body that is not judicial but that is similar to a judicial function or body.

    Quo warranto (Latin: “by what authority”). A writ by which the government inquires into the right of a person or legal entity to hold office or exercise a franchise.

    Quorum. The minimum number of members of a body necessary to transact business, usually a majority.

    Remand. The return of a decision by a superior court to a lower court for further action.

    Remonstrance. A representation to a court or legislative body showing why something should not be done.

    Right of property in man. A concept in some pre-1865 state constitutions used to legitimize slavery.

    Rule making. Determining the accepted procedures for an activity. Courts and government agencies possess rule-making, as opposed to law-making, authority.

    Sanguinary laws. Literally, “bloodthirsty” laws. Ones that freely impose the death penalty.

    Selectmen. Certain elected officials in some New England municipalities.

    Sine die (Latin: “without a day”). The final adjournment of a legislative session, without another day set to reconvene.

    Sovereign immunity. The legal principle that a monarch or an independent political entity cannot be sued in court without providing consent.

    Statute. A written law enacted by a legislature.

    Substantive rules and laws. Regulations and acts that are to be applied by courts. See also Procedural rules and laws

    Unified court system. A judicial system in which all the courts of law are under the government's highest court for purposes of administration.

    Vicinage (French: “neighborhood”). The jurisdiction in which a crime was committed and the trial held.

    Writ. In law, a written command or formal order issued by a court to enforce obedience to its authority. An appellate court may issue a writ of error to a trial court to obtain the record of a matter to be reviewed, or a superior court may issue a writ of prohibition to an inferior court to prohibit further action on a matter. More rarely, a warrant to hold an election or certify election returns. Some writs, including mandamus and quo warranto, are called prerogrative writs, meaning that they are an exercise of a court's extraordinary power, as opposed to writs of right.


    Constitutional references used in the preparation of this book include state constitutions, state law codes, and related materials supplied by state governments. General references consulted were Michael L. Shore and Abigail O'Donnell, eds., Constitutions of the United States: National and State (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, 2005); William F. Swindler, ed., Sources and Documents of United States Constitutions (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, 1973–79); The Book of the States, vols. 31 through 36 (Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 1996–2004); Henry Steele Commager, ed., Documents of American History (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1968); Samuel E. Morison, Henry S. Commager, and Edward W. Leuchtenburg, The Growth of the American Republic (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980); and state constitutions available at

    References providing citations to cases (in addition to state law codes) were Robert F. Williams, comp., State Constitutional Law: Cases and Materials, with 1990–91 supplement (Washington, D.C.: Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1990); Thomas C. Marks and John F. Cooper, State Constitutional Law (St. Paul, Minn.: West, 1988); Paul C. Bartholomew, Summaries of Leading Cases on the Constitution, 4th ed. (Paterson, N.J.: Littlefield, Adams, 1962); Jennifer Friesen, State Constitutional Law: Litigating Individual Rights, Claims, and Defenses (Newark, N.J.: Matthew Bender, 2000); G. Alan Tarr, ed., Constitutional Politics in the States: Contemporary Controversies and Historical Patterns (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996).

    General information on states came from The World Almanac and Book of Facts: 2005 (New York: World Almanac Books, 2005).

    In addition to the sources listed above, the following materials were consulted:


    Stewart, William H., Jr. The Alabama Constitutional Commission: A Pragmatic Approach to Constitutional Revision. University, Ala.: University of Alabama Press, 1975.

    —. The Alabama State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.


    McBeath, Gerald A. The Alaska State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997.

    Naske, Claus-M. Alaska: A History of the 49th State. 2d ed. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987.

    —. A History of Alaskan Statehood. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1985.


    Henderson, Roger C. “Tort Reform, Separation of Powers, and the Arizona Constitutional Convention of 1910.” Arizona Law Review 35 (fall 1993): 535–619.

    Leshy, John D. The Arizona State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.


    Freyer, Tony A. The Little Rock Crisis. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984.

    Goss, Kay C. The Arkansas State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.


    Grodin, Joseph R., Calvin R. Massey, and Richard B. Cunningham. The California State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.

    Witkin, B. E. Summary of California Law, vol. 7. 9th ed. San Francisco: Bancroft-Whitney, 1988.


    Bysiewicz, Shirley. Sources of Connecticut Law. Boston: Butterworth Legal Publishers, 1987.

    Horton, Wesley W. The Connecticut State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.


    Federal Writers' Project. Delaware: A Guide to the First State. 1938. Reprint, New York: Hastings House, 1948.

    Munroe, John A. Colonial Delaware. Millwood, N.Y.: KTO Press, 1978.

    Rubenstein, Harvey B., ed. The Delaware Constitution of 1897: The First One Hundred Years. Wilmington: Delaware State Bar Association, 1997.


    D'Alemberte, Talbot. The Florida State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1991.

    Gannon, Michael. Florida: A Short History. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1993.


    Coleman, Kenneth. Colonial Georgia: A History. New York: Scribner, 1976.

    Frech, Mary L., ed. Chronology and Documentary Handbook of the State of Georgia. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, 1973.

    Hill, Melvin B., Jr. The Georgia State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.


    Bunge, Frederica M., and Melinda W. Cook. Oceania: A Regional Study. Arlington, Va.: U.S. Department of the Army, 1985.

    Lee, Ann F. The Hawaii State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.


    Colson, Dennis C. Idaho's Constitution: The Tie That Binds. Moscow, Idaho: University of Idaho Press, 1991.

    Crowley, Donald, and Florence Heffron. The Idaho State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.


    Burman, Ian D. Lobbying at the Illinois Constitutional Convention. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973.

    Carrier, Lois. Illinois: Crossroads of a Continent. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1993.


    Keefe, John, and Neal R. Peirce. The Great Lake States of America. New York: W. W. Norton, 1980.

    McLauchlan, William P. The Indiana State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996.


    Heller, Francis H. The Kansas State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992.


    Channing, Steven A. Kentucky: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.


    Kilbourne, Richard H. A History of the Louisiana Civil Code: The Formative Years, 1803–39. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1987.

    Symeonides, Symeon. Louisiana Civil Law System. 4th ed. Baton Rouge: Herbert Law Center, Louisiana State University, 1988.

    Taylor, Joe G. Louisiana: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1976.


    Clark, Charles E. Maine: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.

    Tinkle, Marshall J. The Maine State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992.


    Bode, Carl. Maryland: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1978.

    Tolley, Michael C. State Constitutionalism in Maryland. New York: Garland, 1992.

    Wheeler, John P., Jr., and Melissa Kinsey. Magnificent Failure: The Maryland Constitutional Convention of 1967–68. New York: National Municipal League, 1970.


    Gross, Robert A. The Minutemen and Their World. New York: Hill and Wang, 1976.

    Labaree, Benjamin W. Colonial Massachusetts: A History. Millwood, N.Y.: KTO Press, 1979

    Peters, Ronald M., Jr. The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1974.


    Catton, Bruce. Michigan: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1976.


    Cobb, James C. The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

    Skates, John R. Mississippi: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1979.

    Winkle, John W. The Mississippi State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.


    Nagel, Paul C. Missouri: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.


    Spence, Clark C. Montana: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1978.


    Creigh, Dorothy W. Nebraska: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.

    Miewald, Robert D., and Peter J. Longo. The Nebraska State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.


    Bowers, Michael W. The Nevada State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.

    Bushnell, Eleanore. The Nevada Constitution. Reno: University of Nevada, 1977.

    Laxalt, Robert. Nevada: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.

    New Hampshire

    Morison, Elizabeth F. New Hampshire: A Bicentennial History. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1976.

    New Jersey

    Connors, Richard J. The Process of Constitutional Revision in New Jersey: 1940–47. New York: National Municipal League, 1970.

    Fleming, Thomas J. New Jersey: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1984

    Williams, Robert F. The New Jersey State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1990.

    New Mexico

    Simmons, Marc. New Mexico: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.

    Smith, Chuck. The New Mexico State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996.

    New York

    Bliven, Bruce. New York: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1981.

    Breuer, Ernest H. Constitutional Developments in New York, 1777–1958. Albany: University of the State of New York, 1958.

    Carter, Robert A. New York State Constitution: Sources of Legislative Intent. Littleton, Colo.: Fred B. Rothman, 1988.

    Galie, Peter J. Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York. New York: Fordham University Press, 1996.

    Johnson, Herbert A. Essays on New York Colonial Legal History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981.

    Weinstein, Jack B., et al. Essays on the New York Constitution. South Hackensack, N.J.: Fred B. Rothman, 1966.

    North Carolina

    Exum, James G., Jr. The North Carolina State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.

    North Dakota

    Boughey, Lynn M. “An Introduction to North Dakota Constitutional Law: Content and Methods of Interpretation.” North Dakota Law Review 63, no. 2 (1987): 152–300.

    Wilkins, Robert P. North Dakota: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.


    Havighurst, Walter. Ohio: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1976.


    Morgan, Howard W. Oklahoma: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.

    Stone, Robert L. “Nine Articles of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma of 1907 and Comparative Constitutional Law.” Oklahoma City University Law Review 17, no. 1 (spring 1992): 89–129.


    Dodds, Gordon B. Oregon: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.


    Cochran, Thomas C. Pennsylvania: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1978. Wolf, George D. Constitutional Revision in Pennsylvania: The Dual Tactic of Amendment and Limited Convention. New York: National Municipal League, 1969.

    Rhode Island

    Conley, Patrick, T. Democracy in Decline: Rhode Island's Constitutional Development, 1777–1841. Providence: Rhode Island Historical Society, 1977.

    Cornwell, Elmer E., Jr., and Jay S. Goodman. The Politics of the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention. New York: National Municipal League, 1969.

    McLoughlin, William G. Rhode Island: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1978.

    South Carolina

    Wright, Louis B. South Carolina: A Bicentennial History. Nashville, Tenn.: America Association for State and Local History, 1976.

    South Dakota

    Milton, John R. South Dakota: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.


    Dykeman, Wilma. Tennessee: A Bicentennial History. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1975.

    Laska, Lewis L. The Tennessee State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1990.


    Braden, George D., et al. The Constitution of the State of Texas: An Annotated and Comparative Analysis. Austin: Texas Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Affairs, 1977.

    Frantz, Joe B. Texas: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1984.

    May, Janice C. The Texas State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996.


    Peterson, Chares S. Utah: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977.


    Morrissey, Charles T. Vermont: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1981.


    Howard, A. E. Dick. Commentaries on the Constitution of Virginia. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974.

    Morris, Thomas R., and Larry J. Sabbato, eds. Virginia Government and Politics: Readings and Comments. Virginia Chamber of Commerce. 3d rev. ed. Charlottesville: Center for Public Service, University of Virginia, 1990.

    Sutton, Robert P. Revolution to Succession: Constitution Making in the Old Dominion. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1989.


    Clark, Norman H. Washington: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1976.

    Schwantes, Carlos A. The Pacific Northwest. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989.

    Snure, Brian. “A Frequent Recurrence to Fundamental Principles: Individual Rights, Free Government and the Washington State Constitution.” Washington Law Review 67, no. 3 (July 1992): 669–90.

    West Virginia

    Bastress, Robert M. The West Virginia State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995.

    Williams, John A. West Virginia: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1976.


    Stark, Jack. The Wisconsin State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997.


    Keiter, Robert B., and Tim Newcomb. The Wyoming State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992.

    U.S. Territories

    Laughlin, Stanley K., Jr. The Law of the United States Territories and Affiliated Jurisdictions. Danvers, Mass.: Lawyers Cooperative, 1995.

    Web Sites

    The constitutions included on the Web sites below are the best available sources, although they vary in timeliness, accuracy, and the extent of annotations; in many cases alternative Web sites are also available and can be found through search engines.
    New Hampshire
    New Jersey
    New Mexico
    New Yorkhttp://www.state.ny/nyscon.html
    North Carolina
    North Dakota
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina
    South Dakota
    Texas Virginia
    http://soswy.state, of Columbia Samoa Mariana Islands Rico

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