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CONSTITUTION

OF THE

STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Adopted by the Convention, October tenth, eighteen hundred and forty-nine; ratified by the people November thirteenth, eighteen hundred and forty-nine; proclaimed December twentieth, eighteen hundred and forty-nine, and amended eighteen hundred and fiftyseven, eighteen hundred and sixty-two and eighteen hundred and seventy-one.

PREAMBLE.

We, the people of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, do establish this constitution.

As to what importance should be attached to the debates in the constitutional convention, see People v. Coleman, 4 Cal. 46, as commented upon in People v. McCreery, 34 Cal. 452.

The constitution was formed for the purpose of establishing a state government, and does not ex proprio vigore create local municipal governments it assumes such governments are necessary, and provides that they shall be created by the legislature. [Sec. 4, Art. XI.] People v. Provines, 34 Cal. 532.

Recent judicial interpretation of provisions inserted in the constitution will be presumed to have been considered by the people in adopting such provision. So held as to jurisdiction of Supreme Court on appeal in contested election cases. It having been decided that the court had jurisdiction in cases where there was no pecuniary compensation, in Conant . Conant, [divorce] 10 Cal. 252, it is held that this exposition of the constitution must have been recognized when section 4, article VI, was amended in 1861-2, and that the words, "in all cases at law," are not limited and restrained by those immediately following. Knowles v. Yates, 31 Cal. 83.

Sovereignty is a term used to designate the supreme political authority of an independent nation or state. In this country, this authority is vested in the people, and is exercised through the joint action of their federal and state governments. To the federal government is delegated the exercise of certain rights or powers of sovereignty; and the exercise of all other rights of sovereignty, except as expressly prohibited, is reserved to the people of the respective states, or vested by them in their local governments. Moore v. Smaw, and Fremont v. Flower, 17 Cal. 199.

In the construction of constitutions, as of inferior laws, the deliberate and long-settled precedents of courts, and the practice and acquiescence of governments and people, should possess controlling weight. Ferris v. Cooner, 11 Cal. 176.

The constitution is itself a law, and must be construed by some one. The courts, from the nature of the powers vested in them, must be resorted to for such construction, unless the power is expressly given to some other branch of the government. When the right to determine the extent and effect of a restriction upon the legislature is expressly or by necessary implication confided to the legislature, then the judiciary has no right to interfere with the legislative construction, but the question whether that right is vested in the legislature or in the judiciary, must be decided by the latter. Nougues v. Douglass, 7 Cal. 65.

When the language of the constitution is unambiguous, no construction should be given to it in opposition to the express words of the instrument. Bourland v. Hildreth, 26 Cal. 161.

When the convention in framing the constitution borrowed provisions from the constitutions of other states, which provisions had already received judicial construction, it is a safe rule to hold that they have been adopted in view of such construction. People v. Colemen, 4 Cal. 46.

But even if property rights have grown up. under an erroneous decision with regard to the construction of a clause of the constitution, it is better that inconvenience should be submitted to, rather than such decision should stand, and a valuable provision of the fundamental law be obliterated. San Francisco v. S. V. W. W., 48 Cal. 493.

The right of transit through each state, with every species of property known to the constitution of the United States, and recognized by that paramount law, is secured by that instrument to each citizen, and does not depend upon the uncertain and changeable ground of mere casuity. So held with reference to slaves brought into this state by one who is a mere visitor. In the Matter of Archy, 9 Cal. 147.

A government with no limit but its discretion, is not a constitutional one in the true sense of the term. The end and object of creating a constitution is to limit, classify and direct the powers of the different departments. A constitution is a solemn compact, deliberately and freely entered into by a free people as between themselves, by which they limit the powers of their agents, the powers of majorities and the powers of themselves; that this compact is made in advance, when men are more free from passion and prejudice, etc. There are certain inherent and inalienable rights of human nature that no government can take away, some of which are enumerated in our state constitution, but "this enumeration of rights shall not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people." That the hardships of particular cases, that will and must arise in the progress of human affairs, under any and all systems of government and law, do in fact constitute the true and stern test of the devotion of a free people to fundamental principles; and to sustain

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