(as amended to 1973)


We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for
the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain and
establish this constitution.



Sec. 1. All men are by nature equally free and independent and have
certain inalienable rights, among which are those enjoying
and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and
protecting property and reputation; and pursuing and obtain-
ing safety and happiness.

Sec. 2. All political power is inherent in the people. Government
is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of
the people, and they have a right to alter or reform the
same whenever the public good may require.

Sec. 3. The state of North Dakota is an inseparable part of the
American union and the constitution of the United States
is the supreme law of the land.

Sec. 4. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and
worship, without discrimination or preference, shall be for-
ever guaranteed in this state, and no person shall be ren-
dered incompetent to be a witness or juror on account of his
opinion on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of
conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to
excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices incon-
sistent with the peace and safety of this state.

Sec. 5. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be sus-
pended unless, when in case of rebellion or invasion, the
public safety may require.

Sec. 6. All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless
for capital offenses when the proof is evident or the pre-
sumption great. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor
excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel or unusual punish-
ments be inflicted. Witnesses shall not be unreasonably
detained, nor be confined in any room where criminals are
actually imprisoned.

Sec. 7. The right of trial by jury shall be secured to all, and re-
main inviolate; but a jury in civil cases, in courts not of
record may consist of less than twelve men, as may be pre-
scribed by law.

Sec. 8. Until otherwise provided by law, no person shall, for a
felony, be prosecuted against criminally, otherwise than by
indictment, except in cases arising in the land and naval
forces, or in the militia when in actual service in time of
war or public danger. In all other cases, offenses shall be
prosecuted criminally by indictment or information. The
legislative assembly may change, regulate or abolish the
grand jury system.

Sec. 9. Every man may freely write, speak and publish his opinions
on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that
privilege. In all civil and criminal trials for libel the
truth may be given in evidence, and shall be a sufficient
defence when the matter is published with good motives and
for justifiable ends; and the jury shall have the same power
of giving a general verdict as in other cases; and in all
indictments or informations for libels the jury shall have
the right to determine the law and the facts under the
direction of the court as in other cases.

Sec. 10. The citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assem-
ble together for the common good, and to apply to those in-
vested with the powers of government for the redress of
grievances, or for other proper purposes, by petition, ad-
dress or remonstrance.

Sec. 11. All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation.

Sec. 12. The military shall be subordinate to the civil power. No
standing army shall be maintained by this state in time of
peace, and no soldiers shall, in time of peace, be quartered
in any house without the consent of the owner; nor in time
of war, except in the manner prescribed by law.

Sec. 13. In criminal prosecutions in any court whatever, the party
accused shall have the right to a speedy and public trial;
to have the process of the court to compel the attendance of
witnesses in his behalf; and to appear and defend in person
and with counsel. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy
for the same offense, nor 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.

Sec. 14. Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public
use without just compensation having first been made to, or
paid into court for the owner. NO right of way shall be
appropriated to the use of any corporation until full com-
pensation therefor be first made in money or ascertained and
paid into court for the owner, irrespective of any benefit
from any improvement proposed by such corporation, which
compensation shall be ascertained by a jury, unless a jury
be waived, provided however, that when the state or any of
its departments, agencies or political subdivisions seeks to
acquire right of way, it may take possession upon making an
offer to purchase and by depositing the amount of such offer
with the clerk of the district court of the county wherein
the right of way is located. The clerk shall immediately
notify the owner of such deposit. The owner thereupon
appeal to the court in the manner provided by law, and may
have a jury trial, unless a jury be waived, to determine the

Sec. 15. No person shall be imprisoned for debt unless upon refusal
to deliver up his estate for the benefit of his creditors,
in such manner as shall be prescribed by law; or in cases of
tort; or where there is strong presumption of fraud.

Sec. 16. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing
the obligations of contracts shall ever be passed.

Sec. 17. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, unless for the
punishment of crime, shall ever be tolerated in this state.

Sec. 18. 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 warrant shall
issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or
affirmation, particularly describing the place to be
searched and the person and things to be seized.

Sec. 19. Treason against the state shall consist only in levying war
against it, adhering to its enemies or giving them aid and
comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on
the evidence of two witnesses to the same overt act, or
confession in open court.

Sec. 20. No special privileges or immunities shall ever be granted
which may not be altered, revoked or repealed by the legis-
lative assembly; nor shall any citizen or class of citizens
be granted privileges or immunities which upon the same
terms shall not be granted to all citizens.

Sec. 21. The provisions of this constitution are mandatory and pro-
hibitory unless, by express words, they are declared to be

Sec. 22. All courts shall be open, and every man for any injury done
him in his lands, goods. person or reputation shall have
remedy by due process of law, and right and justice adminis-
tered without sale, denial or delay. Suits may be brought
against the state in such manner, in such courts, and in
such cases, as the legislative assembly may, by law, direct.

Sec. 23. Every citizen of this state shall be free to obtain employ-
ment wherever possible, and any person, corporation, or
agent thereof, maliciously interfering or hindering in any
way, any citizen from obtaining or enjoying employment al-
ready obtained, from any other corporation or person, shall
be deemed guilty of misdemeanor.

Sec. 24. To guard against transgressions of the high powers which we
have delegated, we declare that everything in this article
is excepted out of the general powers of government and
shall forever remain inviolate.

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