MICHIGAN. One of the new, states of the United States of America. This state
was admitted into the Union by the Act, of Congress of January 26th, 1837,
Sharsw. cont. of Story's L. U. S. 2531, which enacts "that the state of
Michigan shall be one and is hereby declared to be one, of the United States
of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the
original states, in all respects whatever."
2. The first constitution of this state was adopted by a convention of
the people, begun and held at the capital in the city of Detroit, on Monday,
the eleventh day of May, 1835. This was superseded by the present
constitution, which was adopted 1850. It provides, article 3, Sec. 1; The
powers of the government shall be divided into three distinct departments;
the legislative, the executive, and the judicial; and one department shall
never exercise the powers of another, except in such cases as are expressly
provided for in this constitution.
3.-1. Art. 4, relates to the Legislative department, and provides
Sec. 1. The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and house of
4.-Sec. 6. No person holding any office under the United States [or
this state] or any county office, except notaries public, officers of the
militia and officers elected by townships, shall be eligible to, or have a
seat in either house of the legislature, and all votes given for any such
person shall be void.
5.-Sec. 7. Senators and representatives shall, in all cases except
treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest, nor
shall they be subject to any civil process, during the session of the
legislature, nor for fifteen days next before the commencement and after the
termination of each session. They shall not be questioned in any other
place for any speech in either house.
6.-Sec. 8. A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do
business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel
the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as
each house may provide.
7.-Sec. 9. Each house shall choose its own officers, determine the
rules of its proceeding, and judge of the qualifications, elections, and
return of its own members and may, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all
the members elected, expel a member; no member shall be expelled a second
time for the same cause, nor for any cause known to his constituents
antecedent to his election. The reason for such expulsion shall be entered
upon the journal, with the names of the members voting on the question.
8.-Sec. 10. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and
publish the same, except such parts as may require secrecy; the yeas and
nays of the members of either house, on any question, shall be entered on
the journal at the request of one-fifth of the members present. Any member
of either house may dissent from and protest against any act, proceeding or
resolution which he may deem injurious to any person or the public, and have
the reason of his dissent entered on the journal.
9.-Sec. 11. In all elections by either house, or in joint convention,
the votes shall be given viva voce. All votes on nominations to the senate
shall be taken by yeas and nays, and published with the journal of its
10.-Sec. 12. The doors of each house shall be open, unless the public
welfare require secrecy; neither house shall, without the consent of the
other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than where
the legislature may then be in session.
11.-1st. In considering the house of representatives, it will be
proper to take a view of the qualifications of members; the qualification of
the electors; the number of members; the time for which they are elected.
12.-1. The representatives must be citizens of the United States, and
qualified electors in the respective counties which they represent. Art. 4,
S. 5. 2. In all elections, every white male citizen, every white male
inhabitant residing in the state on the twenty-fourth day of June, one
thousand eight hundred and thirty-five; every white male inhabitant residing
in the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and fifty, who has
declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States pursuant to
the laws thereof six months preceding an election, or who has resided in
this state two years and six months and declared his intention as aforesaid
and every civilized male inhabitant of Indian descent, a native of the
United States, and not a member of any tribe, shall be an elector and
entitled to vote; but no citizen or inhabitant shall be an elector or
entitled to vote at any election, unless he shall be above the age of
twenty-one years, and has resided in this state three months and in the
township or ward in which he offers to vote ten days next preceding such
election. Art. 7, Sec. 1. 3. The house of representatives shall consist of
not less than sixty-five nor more than one hundred members. Art. 4, s. 3. 4.
The election of representatives, pursuant to the provisions of this
constitution, shall be held on the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday of
November, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-two, and on the
Tuesday succeeding the first Monday of November of every second year
thereafter. Art. 4, s. 34. Representatives shall be chosen for two years.
Art. 4, s. 3.
13.-2d. The senate will be considered in the same order. 1. Senators
must be citizens of the United States, and be qualified electors in the
district which they represent. Art. 4, s. 5. 2. They are elected by the
electors of representatives. Art. 7, s. 1. 3. The senate shall consist of
thirty-two members. Art. 4, s. 2. 4. The senators shall be elected for two
years, at the same time and in the same manner as the representatives are
required to be chosen. Art. 4, section 2, 34.
14.-2. The executive department is regulated by the fifth article of
the constitution as follows, namely:
Sec. 1. The executive power is vested in a governor, who shall hold his
office for two years; a lieutenant governor shall be chosen for the same
15.-Sec. 2 No person shall be eligible to the office of governor or
lieutenant governor, who has not been five years a citizen of the United
States, and a resident of this state two years next preceding the election;
nor shall any person be eligible to either office who has not attained the
age of thirty years.
16.-Sec. 3. The governor and lieutenant governor shall be elected at
the times and places of choosing members of the legislature. The Person
having the highest number of votes for governor and lieutenant governor
shall be elected; in case two or more persons have an equal and the highest
number of votes for governor or lieutenant governor, the legislature shall
by joint vote choose one of such persons.
17.-Sec. 4. The governor shall be commander-in-chief of the military
and naval forces, and may call out such forces to execute the laws, to
suppress insurrections and to repel invasions.
18.-Sec. 5. He shall transact all necessary; business with the
officers of government; and may require information, in writing, from the
officers of the executive department, upon any subject relating to the
duties of their respective offices.
19.-Sec. 6. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
20.-Sec. 7. He may convene the legislature on extraordinary occasions.
21.-Sec. 8. He shall give to the legislature, and at the close of his
official term to the next legislature, information by message of the
condition of the state, and recommend such measures to them as he shall deem
22.-Sec. 9. He may convene the legislature at some other place, when
the seat of government becomes dangerous from disease or a common enemy.
23.-Sec. 10. He shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies
as occur in the senate or house of representatives.
24.-Sec. 11. He may grant reprieves, commutations and pardons after
convictions, for all offences except treason and cases of impeachment, upon
such conditions, and with such restrictions and limitations, as he may think
proper, subject to regulations provided by law, relative to the manner of
applying for pardons. Upon conviction for treason, he may suspend the
execution of the sentence until the case shall be reported to the
legislature at its next session, when the legislature shall either pardon,
or commute the sentence, direct the execution of the sentence, or grant a
further reprieve. He shall communicate to the legislature at each session
information of each case of reprieve, commutation or pardon granted, and the
25.-Sec. 12. In case of the impeachment of the governor, his removal
from office, death, inability, resignation, or absence from the state, the
powers and duties of the office shall devolve upon the lieutenant governor
for the residue of the term, or until the disability ceases. When the
governor shall be out of the state in time of war, at the head of a military
force thereof, he shall continue commander-in-chief of all the military
force of the state.
26.-Sec. 13. During a vacancy in the office of governor, if the
lieutenant governor die, resign, be impeached, displaced, be incapable of
performing the duties of his office, or absent from the state, the president
pro tempore of the senate shall act as governor until the vacancy be filled,
or the disability cease.
27.-Sec. 14. The lieutenant governor shall, by virtue of his office,
be president of the senate. In committee of the whole he may debate all
questions; and when there is an equal division, he shall give the casting
28.-Sec. 15. No member of congress, nor any person holding office
under the United States, or this state, shall execute the office of
29.-Sec. 16. No person elected governor or lieutenant governor shall
be eligible to any office or appointment from the legislature, or either
house thereof, during the time for which he was elected. All votes for
either of them, for any such office, shall be void.
30.-Sec. 17. The lieutenant governor and president of the senate pro
tempore, when performing the duties of governor, shall receive the same
compensation as the governor.
31.-Sec. 18. All official acts of the governor, his approval of the
laws excepted, shall be authenticated by the great seal of the state, which
shall be kept by the secretary of state.
32.-Sec. 19. All commissions issued to persons holding office under
the provisions of this constitution, shall be in the name and by the
authority of the people of the state of Michigan, sealed with the great seal
of the state, signed by the governor, and countersigned by the secretary of
32.-3. The judicial department is regulated by the sixth article as
33.-Sec. 1. The judicial power is vested in one supreme court, in
circuit courts, in probate courts, and in justices of the peace. Municipal
courts of civil and criminal jurisdiction may be established by the
legislature in cities.
34.-Sec. 2. For the term of six years, and thereafter, until the
legislature otherwise provide, the judges of the several circuit courts
shall be judges of the supreme court, four of whom shall constitute a
quorum. A concurrence of three shall be necessary to a final decision. After
six years the legislature may provide by law for the organization of a
supreme court, with the jurisdiction and powers prescribed in this
constitution, to consist of one chief justice and three associate justices,
to be chosen by the electors of the state. Such supreme court, when so
organized, shall not be changed or discontinued by the legislature for eight
years thereafter. The judges thereof shall be so classified that but one of
them shall go out of office at the same time. Their term of office, shall be
35.-Sec. 3. The supreme court shall have a general superintending
control over all inferior courts, and shall have power to issue writs of
error, habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warrants, procedendo, and other original
and remedial writs, and to hear and determine the same. In all other cases
it shall have appellate jurisdiction only.
36.-Sec. 4. Four terms of the supreme court shall be held annually, at
such times and places, as may be designated by law.
37.-Sec. 5. The supreme court shall, by general rules, establish,
modify and amend the practice in such court and in the circuit courts, and,
simplify the same. The legislature shall, as far as practicable, abolish
distinctions between law and equity proceedings. The office of master in
chancery is prohibited.
38.-Sec. 6. The state shall be divided, into eight judicial circuits;
in each of which the electors thereof shall elect one circuit judge, who
shall hold his office for the term of six years, and until his successor is
elected and qualified.
39.-Sec. 7. The legislature may alter the limits of circuits, or
increase the number of the same. No alteration or increase shall have the
effect to remove a judge from office. In every additional circuit
established the judge shall be elected by the electors of such circuit, and
his term of office shall continue as provided in this constitution for
judges of the circuit court.
40.-Sec. 8. The circuit courts shall have original jurisdiction in all
matters civil and criminal, not excepted in this constitution, and not
prohibited by law; and, appellate jurisdiction from all inferior courts and
tribunals, and a supervisory control of the same. They shall also have power
to issue writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, injunction, quo warranto,
certiorari, and other writs necessary to carry into effect their orders,
judgments and decrees, and give there a general control over inferior courts
and tribunals within their respective jurisdictions.
41.-Sec. 9. Each of the judges of the circuit courts shall receive a
salary payable quarterly. They shall be ineligible to any other than a
judicial office during the term for which they are elected, and for one year
thereafter. All votes for any person elected such judge for any office other
than judicial, given either by the legislature or the people, shall be void.
42.-Sec. 10. The supreme court may appoint a reporter of its
decisions. The decisions of the supreme court shall be in writing, and
signed by the judges concurring therein. Any judge dissenting there from,
shall give the reasons of such dissent in writing, under his signature. All
such opinions shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the supreme
court. The judges of the circuit court, within their respective
jurisdictions, may fill vacancies in the office of county clerk and of
prosecuting, attorney; but no judge of the supreme court, or, circuit court,
shall exercise any other power of appointment to public office.
43.-Sec. 11. A circuit court shall be held at least twice in each
year, in every county organized for judicial purposes, and four times in
each year in counties containing ten thousand inhabitants. Judges of the
circuit court may hold courts for each other, and shall do so when required
44.-Sec. 12. The clerk of each county organized for judicial purposes
shall be the clerk of the circuit court of such county, and of the supreme
court when held within the same.
45.-Sec. 13. In each of the counties organized for judicial purposes,
there shall be a court of probate. The judge of such court shall be elected
by the electors of the county in which he resides, and shall hold his office
for four years, and until his successor is elected and qualified. The
jurisdiction, powers, and duties of such court, shall be prescribed by law.
46.-Sec. 14. When a vacancy occurs in the office of judge of the
supreme, circuit or probate court, it shall be filled by appointment of the
governor, which shall continue until a successor is elected and qualified.
When elected, such successor shall hold his office the residue of the
47.-Sec. 15. The supreme court, the circuit and probate court of each
county, shall be courts of record, and shall each have a common seal.
48.-Sec. 16. The legislature may provide by law for the election of
one or more persons in each organized county, who may be vested with
judicial powers, not exceeding those of a judge of the circuit court at
49.-Sec. 17. There shall be not exceeding four justices of the peace
in each organized township. They shall be elected by the electors of the
townships, and shall hold their offices for four years, and until their
successors are elected and qualified. At the first election in any township,
they shall be classified as shall be prescribed by law. A justice elected to
fill a vacancy shall hold his office for the residue of the unexpired term.
The legislature may increase the number of justices in cities.
50.-Sec. 18. In civil cases justices of the peace shall have exclusive
jurisdiction to the amount of one hundred dollars, and concurrent
jurisdiction to the amount of three hundred dollars, which may be increased
to five hundred dollars, with such exceptions and restrictions as may be
provided by law. They shall also have such criminal jurisdiction and perform
such duties as shall be prescribed by the legislature.
51.-Sec. 19. Judges of the supreme court, circuit judges, and justices
of the peace, shall be conservators of the peace within their respective
52.-Sec. 20. The first election of judges of the circuit courts shall
be held on the first Monday in April, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-
one, and every sixth year thereafter. Whenever an additional circuit is
created, provision. shall be made to hold the subsequent election of such
additional judges at the regular elections herein provided.
53.-Sec. 21. The first election of judges of the probate courts shall
be held on the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday of November, one thousand
eight hundred and fifty-two, and every fourth year thereafter.
54.-Sec. 22. Whenever a judge shall remove beyond the limits of the
jurisdiction for which he was elected or a justice of the peace from the
township in which he was elected, or by a change in the boundaries of such
township shall be placed without the same, they shall be deemed to have
vacated their respective offices.
55.-Sec. 23. The legislature may establish courts of conciliation,
with such powers and duties as shall be prescribed by law.
56.-Sec. 24. Any suitor in any court of this state shall have the
right to prosecute or defend his suit, either in his own proper person, or
by an attorney or agent, of his choice.
57.-Sec. 25. In all prosecutions for libels, the truth may be given in
evidence to the jury; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter
charged as libelous is true, and was published with good motives and for
justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted. The jury shall have the
right to determine the law and the fact.
58.-Sec. 26. The person, houses, papers, and possessions of every
person shall be secure from unreasonable searches and seizure. No warrant to
search any place, or to seize any person or things shall issue without
describing them, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or
59.-Sec. 27. The right of trial by jury shall remain, but shall be
deemed to be waived in all civil cases unless demanded by one of the
parties, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.
60.-Sec. 28. In every criminal prosecution, the accused shall have the
right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, which may consist
of less than twelve, men in all courts not of record; to be informed of the
nature of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him;
to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and have
the assistance of counsel for his defence.
61.-Sec. 29. No person, after acquittal upon the merits, shall be
tried for the same offence; all persons shall, before conviction, be
bailable by sufficient sureties, except for murder and treason, when the
proof is evident or the presumption great.
62.-Sec. 30. Treason against the state shall consist only in levying
war against, or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No
person shall be convicted of treason unless upon the testimony of two
witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
63.-Sec. 31. Excessive bail shall not be required; excessive fines
shall not be imposed; cruel or unusual punishment shall not be inflicted,
nor, shall witnesses be unreasonably detained.
64.-Sec. 32. No person shall 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.
65.-Sec. 33. No person shall be imprisoned for debt arising out of, or
founded on a contract, express or implied, except in cases of fraud or
breach of trust, or of moneys collected by public officers, or in any
professional employment. No person shall be imprisoned for a militia fine in
time of peace.
66.-Sec. 34. No person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness,
on account of his opinions on matters of religious belief.
67.-Sec. 35. The style of all process shall be, "In the name of the
people of the State of Michigan."
, Lake Michigan