Page images
PDF
EPUB

INTRODUCTION.

Prefatory Note. It is unnecessary to make any extended explanation in laying before the Bar of California work upon the constitution of California. The edition published by Mr. Robert Desty in 1879 was excellent in its time, but has long ceased to be of practical aid to the profession. In preparing this volume, the aim has been to present in the most convenient form the decisions of our own courts, only referring to the decisions of other courts on subjects which our own have left untouched. While the main subject is the present constitution of this state, the book also contains the former constitution, the constitution of the United States, and the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

New features. Some new and important features are the following: (1) A table showing all statutes of this state which have been declared unconstitutional in whole or in part. There are over one hundred and thirty such statutes scattered through the statute books, and this is the first time any table of them has been made. (2) A table of all California citations to either of the California constitutions. This will permit a hasty examination of all decisions citing any particular section of the constitution. (3) A table of parallel sections in the constitutions of 1849 and 1879, which will also prove a useful feature.

Annotations. As to the form of the annotations, the aim has been to present in the most condensed form the principles of the decisions, rather than any statement of the facts of the cases. In other words, we have attempted something more than a mere digest, or a hotchpotch of the syllabi of the decisions.

HISTORY OF THE CONSTITUTION.—California was admitted into the Union of states September 9, 1850. The first constitution was adopted in convention October 10, 1849, ratified by the people November 13, 1849, proclaimed December 20, 1849. This constitution was amended in 1857 and 1871, and the article on the judicial department was revised in 1862.

The present constitution was adopted in convention March 3, 1879, ratified by the people May 7, 1879, and went into effect July 4, 1879, so far as it related to election of officers, etc., and January 1, 1880, for all other purposes. Various amendments have been made to it from

vi

INTRODUCTION.

vii

ind this is the first time any table of them has time to time, but no radical revision of it has jeen made. (2) A table of all California cita- been effected. ions to either of the California constitutions This will permit a hasty examination of all

CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRUCTION. ecisions citing any particular section of the The constitution of this state, unlike the fed

. institution. (3) A table of parallel sections eral constitution, is not to be considered as a

the constitutions of 1849 and 1879, which grant of power, but rather as a limitation upon ll also prove a useful feature.

the powers of the legislature. (People v. Cole

man, 4 Cal. 46; People v. Jewett, 6 Cal. 291; Annotations.-As to the form of the annota: People v. Rogers, 13 Cal. 159; People v. ns, the aim has been to present in the most Twelfth District Court, 17 Cal. 547; Bourland densed form the principles of the decisions, v. Hildreth, 26 Cal. 161; Ex parte McCarthy, her than any statement of the facts of the 29 Cal. 395.) ' s. In other words, we have attempted It is, however, to be considered as a grant ething more than a mere digest, or a hotch- of power to the other branches of the governh of the syllabi of the decisions.

ment. (People v. Jewett, 6 Cal. 291.) STORY OF THE CONSTITUTION.-Cal

Words and phrases.

Where a word, having ia was admitted into the Union of states

a technical, as well as a popular, meaning, is mber 9, 1850. The first constitution was used in the constitution, the courts will accord ed in convention October 10, 1849, to it its popular meaning, unless the nature of d by the people November 13, 1849, pro- the subject indicates, or the context suggests, d December 20, 1849. This constitution that it is used in its technical sense. (Weill v. nended in 1857 and 1871, and the article Kenfield, 54 Cal. 111; Oakland Pav. Co. v. Hiljudicial department was revised in 1862. ton, 69 Cal. 479, 11 Pac. 3; Oakland Pav. Co. v. present constitution was adopted in con- Tompkins, 72 Cal. 5, 12 Pac. 801; Miller v. 1 March 3, 1879, ratified by the people Dunn, 72 Cal. 462, 14 Pac. 27; People v. Eddy,

1879, and went into effect July 4, 1879, 43 Cal. 331.)
as it related to election of officers, etc.,
inuary 1, 1880, for all other purposes.

Prospective construction.-Provisions of the s amendments have been made to it from

constitution are to be considered prospective and not retrospective unless a contrary inten

tion clearly appears. (Gurnee v. Superior Court, 58 Cal. 88.)

Reasonable construction.—A construction should be adopted which tends to certainty, security, and substantial justice, in preference to that which involves uncertainty, insecurity, and inevitable injustice. (San Gabriel Co. v. Witmer Co., 96 Cal. 623, 29 Pac. 500, 31 Pac. 588.)

But where a provision is plain and unambiguous, it cannot be changed by the courts to avoid what may seem to be an absurdity or injustice. (Moran v. Ross, 79 Cal. 549, 21 Pac. 958.)

All the provisions of the constitution must be read together, and effect given to all of them They must receive a practical common-sense construction, and be considered with reference to the prior state of the law, and the mischief intended to be remedied. (People v. Stephens, 62 Cal. 209; French v. Teschemaker, 24 Cal. 518.)

MEANS OF CONSTRUCTION-Debates of the convention.—The debates of the constitutional convention may be referred to for the purpose of construing the provisions of the constitution. (People v. Chapman, 61 Cal. 262; People v. Stephens, 62 Cal. 209; Isola v. Webber, 13 Misc. Rep. 100; Higgins v. Prater, 91 Ky. 6; State v. Doron, 5 Nev. 399; Bank of

« PreviousContinue »