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LOUISIANA. The name of one of the new states of the United States of
America. This state was admitted into the Union by the act of congress,
entitled "An act for the admission of the state of Louisiana into the Union,
and to extend the laws of the United States to the said state," approved
April 8, 1812, 2 Story's L. U. S. 1224; the preamble of which recites and
the first section enacts as follows, namely:
2. Whereas the representatives of the people of all that part of the territory or country ceded, under the name of "Louisiana," by the treaty made at Paris, on the thirtieth day of April, one thousand eight hundred and three, between the United States and France, contained within the following limits; that is to say: beginning at the mouth of the river Sabine; thence, by a line to be drawn along the middle of said river, including all islands to the thirty-second degree of latitude; thence, due north, to the northernmost part of the thirty-third degree of north latitude, thence, along the said parallel of latitude, to the river Mississippi; thence, down the said river, to the river Iberville; and from thence, along the middle of the said river, and lakes Maurepas and Ponchartrain, to the gulf of Mexico; thence, bounded by the said gulf, to the place of beginning; including all islands within three leagues of the coast; did, on the twenty-second day of January, one thousand eight hundred and twelve, form for themselves a constitution and state government, and give to the said state the name of the state of Louisiana, in pursuance of an act of congress, entitled "An act to enable the people of the territory of Orleans to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of the said state into the Union, on an equal footing with the original states, and for other purposes: And the said constitution having been transmitted to congress, and by them being hereby approved; therefore,
3.-1. Be it enacted, &c. That the said state 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, by the name and title of the state of Louisiana: Provided, That it shall be taken as a condition upon which the said state is incorporated in the Union, that the river Mississippi, and the navigable rivers and waters leading into the same, and into the Gulf of Mexico, shall be common highways, and forever free, as well to the inhabitants of the said state as to the inhabitants of other states, and the territories of the United States, without any tax, duty, impost, or toll, therefor, imposed by the said state; and that the above condition, and also all other the conditions and terms contained in the third section of the act, the title whereof is hereinbefore recited, shall be considered, deemed, and taken, fundamental conditions and terms, upon which the said state is incorporated in the Union. See 11 M. R. 309.
4. By the present constitution of the state of Louisiana, which was adopted in 1845; the powers of the government of the state of Louisiana, are divided into three distinct departments, each of them confined to a separate body of magistracy, to wit: The legislative to one, the executive to another, and the judicial to a third. Title I.
5.-1st. The legislative power is vested in a general assembly, which consists of a senate and house of representatives.
6.-1. The senate will be considered with reference to the qualification of the electors; the qualification of the members the length of time for which they are elected and the time of their election. 1. In all elections by the people, every free white male, who has been two years a citizen of the United States, who has attained the age of twenty-one years, and resided in the state two consecutive years next preceding the election, and the last year thereof in the parish in which he offers to vote, shall have the right of voting: Provided, That no person shall be deprived of the right of voting, who, at the time of the adoption of this constitution, was entitled to that right under the constitution of 1812. Absence from the state for more than ninety consecutive days, shall interrupt the acquisition of the residence required in the preceding section, unless the person absenting himself shall be a housekeeper, or shall occupy a tenement for carrying on business, and his dwelling house or tenements for carrying on business, be actually occupied during his absence, by his family or servants, or some portion thereof, or by some one employed by him. No soldier, seaman, or marine in the army or navy of the United States, no pauper, no person under interdiction, nor under conviction of any crime punishable by hard labor, shall be entitled to vote at any election in this state. 2. No person shall be a senator, who, at the time of his election, has not been a citizen of the United States ten years, and who has not attained the age of twenty-seven years and resided in the state four years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof, in the district in which he may be chosen. The number of senators shall be thirty-two. 3. The members of the senate shall be chosen for the term of four years. 4. Their election takes place on the first Monday in November, every two years, so that one half of their number are elected every two years, and a perpetual rotation thereby kept up.
7.-2. The house of representatives will be treated of in the same manner as that of the senate. 1. The electors are qualified in the same manner as those of the senate. 2. No person shall be a representative, who, at the time of his election, is not a free white male, and has not been for three years a citizen of the United States, and has not attained the age of twenty-one years, and resided in the state for three years next preceding the election, and the last year thereof in the parish for which he may be chosen. The number of representatives shall not be more than one hundred, nor less than seventy. 3. They are chosen every two years. 4. Their election is on the first Monday in November, every two years. Title II.
8.-2d. The supreme executive power of the state shall be vested in a chief magistrate, who shall be styled the governor of the state of Louisiana. He is elected by the qualified electors at the time and place of voting for representatives; the person having the greatest number of votes, shall be declared elected. But if two or more persons shall be equal in the highest number of votes polled, one of them shall immediately be chosen governor by the joint vote of the members of the general assembly. 2. No person shall be eligible to the office of governor, who shall not have attained the age of thirty-five years, been fifteen years a citizen of the United States, and a resident within the state for the same space of time next preceding his election. 3. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, but shall be ineligible for the succeeding four years after its termination. 4. His principal functions are as follows: He shall be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of this state, and of the militia thereof, except when they shall be called into the service of the United States. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. From time to time give to the general assembly information respecting the situation of the state, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he may deem expedient. Shall have power to grant reprieves for all offences against the state. With the consent of the senate, have power to grant pardons and remit fines and forfeitures, after conviction, except in cases of impeachment. In cases of treason, may grant reprieves until the end of the next session of the general assembly, in which the pardoning power shall be vested. Shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the senate, appoint all officers established by this constitution, whose mode of appointment is not otherwise prescribed by the constitution, nor by the legislature. Have power to fill vacancies during the recess of the senate, provided he appoint no one whom the senate have rejected for the same office. May, on extraordinary occasions convene the general assembly at the seat of government, or at a different place, if that should have become dangerous from an enemy or from an epidemic; and in case of disagreement between the two houses as to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he may think proper, not exceeding four months. He shall have the veto power. Title III.
9.-3d. The judicial power is vested by title IV of the constitution, as follows:
10.-1. The judicial power shall be vested in a supreme court, in district courts, and injustices of the peace.
11.-2. The supreme court, except in cases hereinafter provided, shall have appellate jurisdiction only, which jurisdiction shall extend to all cases when the matter in dispute shall exceed three hundred dollars, and to all cases in which the constitutionality or legality of any tax, toll, or impost of any kind or nature soever, shall be in contestation, whatever may be the amount thereof; and likewise to all fines, forfeitures, and penalties imposed by municipal corporations, and in criminal cases on questions of law alone, whenever the punishment of death or hard labor may be inflicted, or when a fine exceeding three hundred dollars is actually imposed.
12.-3. The supreme court shall be composed of one chief justice, and of three associate justices, a majority of whom shall constitute a quorum. The chief justice shall receive a salary of six thousand dollars, and each of the associate judges a salary of five thousand five hundred dollars annually. The court shall appoint its own clerks. The judges shall be appointed for the term of eight years.
13.-4. When the first appointments are made under this constitution, the chief justice shall be appointed for eight years, one of the associate judges for six years, one for four years, and one for two years and in the event of the death, resignation, or removal of any of said judges before the expiration of the period for which he was appointed, his successor shall be appointed only for the remainder of his term; so that the term of service of no two of said judges shall expire at the same time.
14.-5. The supreme court shall hold its sessions in New Orleans, from the first Monday of the month of November, to the end of the month of June, inclusive. The legislature shall have power to fix the sessions elsewhere during the rest of the year; until otherwise provided, the sessions shall be held as heretofore.
15.-6. The supreme court, and each of the judges thereof, shall have power to issue writs of habeas corpus, at the instance of all persons in actual custody under process, in all cases in which they may have appellate jurisdiction.
16.-7. In all cases in which the judges shall be equally divided in opinion, the judgment appealed from shall stand affirmed; in which case each of the judges shall give his separate opinions in writing.
17.-8. All judges, by virtue of their office, shall be conservators of the peace throughout the state. The style of all processes shall be, "The State of Louisiana." All prosecutions, shall be carried on in the name and by the authority of the state of Louisiana, and conclude, against the peace and dignity of the same.
18.-9. The judges of all the courts within this state shall, as often as it may be possible so to do, in every definite judgment, refer to the particular law in virtue of which such judgment may be rendered, and in all cases adduce the reasons on which their judgment is founded.
19.-10. No court or judge shall make any allowance by way of fee or compensation in any suit or proceedings, except for the payment of such fees to ministerial officers as may be established by law.
20.-11. No duties or functions shall ever be attached by law to the supreme or district courts, or to the several judges thereof, but such as are judicial; and the said judges are prohibited from receiving any fees of office or other compensation than their salaries for any civil duties performed by them.
21.-12. The judges of all courts shall be liable to impeachment; but for any reasonable cause, which shall not be sufficient ground for impeachment, the governor shall remove any of them on the address of three- fourths of the members present of each house of the general assembly. In every such case the cause or causes for which such removal may be required, shall be stated at length in the address, and inserted in the journal of each house.
22.-13. The first legislature assembled under this constitution shall divide the state into judicial districts, which shall remain unchanged for six years, and be subject to reorganization every sixth year thereafter. The number of districts shall not be less than twelve, nor more than twenty. For each district one judge, learned in the law, shall be appointed, except in the districts in which the cities of New Orleans and Lafayette are situated, in which the legislature may establish as many district courts as the public interest may require.
23.-14. Each of the said judges shall receive a salary to be fixed by law, which shall not be increased or diminished during his term of office, and shall never be less than two thousand five hundred dollars annually. He must be a citizen of the United States, over the age of thirty years, and have resided in the state for six years next preceding his appointment, and have practised law therein for the space of five years.
24.-15. The judges of the district courts shall hold their offices for the term of six years. The judges first appointed shall be divided by lot into three classes, as nearly equal as can be, and the term of office of the judges of the first class shall expire at the end of two years, of the second class at the end of four years, and of the third class at the end of six years.
25.-16. The district courts shall have original jurisdiction in all civil cases when the amount in dispute exceeds fifty dollars, exclusive of interest. In all criminal cases, and in all matters connected with successions, their jurisdiction shall be unlimited.
26.-17. The jurisdiction of justices of the peace shall never exceed, in civil cases, the sum of one hundred dollars, exclusive of interest, subject to appeal to the district court in such cases as shall be provided for by law. They shall be elected by the qualified voters of each parish for the term of two years, and shall have such criminal jurisdiction as shall be provided for by law.