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Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - 1838

The CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, AS AMENDED BY THE CONVENTION OF ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED AND THIRTY-SEVEN-THIRTY-EIGHT.

WE, The People of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Ordain and Establish this Constitution for its Government.

Article I

Legislative power.
Section I. The legislative power of this Commonwealth shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

Election of Representatives.
Section II. The representatives shall be chosen, annually, by the citizens of the city of Philadelphia, and of each county respectively, on the second Tuesday of October.

Amendment of 1857

Qualification of Representatives.
Section III. No person shall be a representative, who shall not have attained the age of twenty-one years, and have been a citizen and in a citizen and inhabitant of the State three years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof an inhabitant of the district in which he shall be chosen; unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States, or of this State. No person, residing within any city, town, or borough, which shall be entitled to a separate representation shall be elected a member for any county; nor shall any person, residing without the limits of any such city, town or borough, be elected a member thereof.

Census; Ratio of Representation.
Section IV. Within three years after the first meeting of the General Assembly, and within every subsequent term of seven years, an enumeration of the taxable inhabitants shall be made, in such manner as shall be directed by law. The number of representatives shall, at the several periods of making such enumeration, be fixed by the legislature, and apportioned among the city of Philadelphia and the several counties, according to the number of taxable inhabitants in each; and shall never be less than sixty, nor greater than one hundred. Each county shall have, at least, one representative; but no county, hereafter erected, shall be entitled to separate representation, until a sufficient number of taxable inhabitants shall be contained within it, to entitle them to one representative, agreeably to the ratio which shall then be established.

Amendment of 1857

Election of Senators.
Section V. The senators shall be chosen for four years by the citizens of Philadelphia, and of the several counties, at the same time, in the same manner, and at the same places where they shall vote for representatives.

Amendment of 1857

Ratio of Senatorial Representation.
Section VI. The number of senators shall, at the several periods of making the enumeration before mentioned, be fixed by the Legislature, and apportioned among the districts formed as hereinafter directed, according to the number of taxable inhabitants in each; and shall never be less than one-fourth, nor greater than one-third, of the number of representatives.

Districts for Electing Senators.
Section VII. The senators shall be chosen in districts, to be formed by the legislature; but no district shall be formed as to entitle it to elect more than two senators, unless the number of taxable inhabitants in any city or county shall, at any time, be such as to entitle it to elect more than two, but no city or county shall be entitled to elect more than four senators; when a district shall be composed of two or more counties, they shall be adjoining; and neither the city of Philadelphia nor any county shall be divided in forming a district.

Amendment of 1857

Qualifications of senators.
Section VIII. No person shall be a senator, who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, and have been a citizen and inhabitant of the State for four years next before his election, and the last year thereof an inhabitant of the district for which he shall be chosen, unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States or of this State; and no person elected as aforesaid, shall hold said office after he shall have removed from such district.

Classification of senators.
Section IX. The senators who may be elected at the first general election after the adoption of the amendments to the constitution, shall be divided by lot into three classes. The seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first year; of the second class at the expiration of the second year; and of the third class at the expiration of the third year; so that thereafter, one-third of the whole number of senators may be chosen every year. The senators elected before the amendments to the constitution shall be adopted, shall hold their offices during the terms for which they shall respectively have been elected.

Meeting of the General Assembly.
Section X. The General Assembly shall meet on the first Tuesday of January, in every year, unless sooner convened by the Governor.

Officers of each House.
Section XI. Each house shall choose its Speaker and other officers; and the Senate shall also choose a Speaker pro tempore, when the Speaker shall exercise the office of Governor.

Powers of each House.
Section XII. Each house shall judge of the qualifications of its members. Contested elections shall be determined by a committee to be selected, formed and regulated in such manner as shall be directed by law. A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized by law to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as may be provided.

Censure and expulsion.
Section XIII. Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same cause; and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the legislature of a free state.

Divorce.
Section XIV. The legislature shall not have power to enact laws annulling the contract of marriage in any case where, by law, the courts of this commonwealth are or may hereafter be empowered to decree a divorce.

Journals yeas and nays.
Section 15. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish them weekly, except such parts as may require secrecy, and the yeas and nays of the members on any question shall at the desire of any two of them, be entered on the journals.

Open doors.
Section XVI. The doors of each house and of committees of the whole shall be open, unless when the business shall be such as ought to be kept secret.

Adjournments.
Section XVII. Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.

Compensation and privileges of members.
Section XVIII. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the commonwealth. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony, and breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same. And for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

Disqualifications of members.
Section XIX. No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he shall have been elected, be appointed to any civil office under this Commonwealth which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased during such time; and no member of Congress, or other person holding any office (except of attorney at law and in the militia) under the United States or this commonwealth, shall be a member of either house during his continuance in Congress or in office.

Vacancies.
Section XX. When vacancies happen in either house the Speaker shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

Revenue bills.
Section XXI. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose amendments as in other bills.

Treasury.
Section XXII. No money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.

Bills returned by the Governor with objections; Bills not returned.
Section XXIII. Every bill, which shall have passed both houses shall be presented to the Governor. If he approve, he shall sign it, but if he shall not approve he shall return it with his objection to the house in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large upon their journals and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such re-consideration two-thirds of that house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent with the objections to the other house, by which likewise it shall be re-considered, and if approved by two-thirds of that house, it shall be a law. But in such cases the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for or against the bill shall be entered on the journals of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within ten days (Sundays excepted), after it shall have been presented to him, it shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the General Assembly by their adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it shall be a law, unless sent back within three days after their next meeting.

Orders resolutions & votes.
Section XXIV. Every order, resolution or vote to which the concurrence of both houses may be necessary (except on the question of adjournment,) shall be presented to the Governor, and before it shall take effect, be approved by him, or being disapproved, shall be re-passed by two-thirds of both houses, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in case of a bill.

Bank incorporations how obtained. Charities limited.
Section XXV. No corporate body shall be hereafter created, renewed or extended, with banking or discounting privileges, without six months previous public notice of the intended application for the same in such manner as shall be prescribed by law. Nor shall any charter for the purposes aforesaid, be granted for a longer period than twenty-years, and every such charter shall contain a clause reserving in the legislature the power to alter, revoke or annul the same whenever in their opinion it may be injurious to the citizens of the Commonwealth, in such manner however, that no injustice shall be done to the corporators. No law hereafter enacted shall create, renew or extend the charter of more than one corporation.

Section 26. Added in 1857

ARTICLE II

Election power.
Section I. The Supreme Executive power of this commonwealth shall be vested in a Governor.

Election of Governor.
Section II. The Governor shall be chosen on the second Tuesday of October, by the citizens of the commonwealth, at the places where they shall respectively vote for representatives. The returns for every election for Governor shall be sealed up and transmitted to the Seat of Government, directed to the Speaker of the Senate, who shall open and publish them in the presence of members of both houses of the legislature. The person having the highest number of votes shall be Governor. But if two or more shall be equal and highest in votes, one of them shall be chosen governor by the joint vote of the members of both houses. Contested elections shall be determined by a committee to be selected from both houses of the legislature, and formed and regulated in such manner as shall be directed by law.

Continuance in office.
Section III. The Governor shall hold his office during three years from the third Tuesday of January next ensuing his election, and shall not be capable of holding it longer than six, in any term of nine years.

Qualifications.
Section IV. He shall be at least thirty years of age, and have been a citizen and inhabitant of this State seven years next before his election, unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States, or this State.

Disqualifications.
Section V. No member of Congress, or person holding any office under the United States, or this State, shall exercise the office of Governor.

Compensation.
Section VI. The Governor shall, at stated times, receive for his services a compensation, which shall be neither increased nor diminished, during the period for which he shall have been elected.

Military powers.
Section VII. He shall be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of this Commonwealth, and of the militia, except when they shall be called into the actual service of the United States.

General powers & duties.
Section VIII. He shall appoint a Secretary of the Commonwealth during pleasure; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint all judicial officers of courts of record, unless otherwise provided for in this Constitution. He shall have power to fill all vacancies that may happen in such judicial offices during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions, which shall expire at the end of their next session; Provided, That in acting on Executive nominations, the Senate shall sit with open doors, and in confirming or rejecting the nominations of the Governor, the votes shall be taken by yeas and nays.

Pardons.
Section IX. He shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, and grant reprieves and pardons, except in cases of impeachment.

Information from officers of Executive department.
Section X. He may require information in writing from the officers in the Executive Department, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.

Information to the legislature.
Section XI. He shall, from time to time, give to the General Assembly information of the state of the Commonwealth, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge expedient.

Convene and adjourn the legislature.
Section XII. He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly; and in case of disagreement between the two Houses with respect to the time of adjournment, adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper, not exceeding four months.

Execution of laws.
Section XIII. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

Vacancy by death &c. how supplied. Contested election.
Section XIV. In case of the death or resignation of the Governor, or his removal from office, the Speaker of the Senate shall exercise the office of Governor until another Governor shall be duly qualified. But in such case another Governor shall be chosen at the next annual election of representatives, unless such death, resignation, or removal, shall occur within three calendar months immediately preceding such next annual election; in which case, a Governor shall be chosen at the second succeeding annual election of Representatives. And if the trial of a contested election shall continue longer than until the third Monday of January next ensuing the election of a Governor, the Governor of the last year, or the Speaker of the Senate, who may be in the exercise of the Executive authority, shall continue therein until the determination of such contested election, and until a Governor shall be duly qualified, as aforesaid.

Section XV. The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall keep a fair register of all the official acts and proceedings of the Governor, and shall, when required, lay the same ,and all papers, minutes, and vouchers relative thereto before either branch of the Legislature, and shall perform such other duties as shall be enjoined him by law.

ARTICLE III

Election franchise.
Section I. In elections by the citizens, every white freeman of the age of twenty-one years, having resided in the State one year, and in the election district where he offers to vote, ten days immediately proceeding such election, and within two years paid a State or county tax, which shall have been assessed at least ten days before the election, shall enjoy the rights of an elector. But a citizen of the United States who had previously been a qualified voter of this State, and removed therefrom and returned, and who shall have resided in the election district, and paid taxes, as aforesaid, shall be entitled to vote after residing in the State six months: Provided, That white freemen, citizens of the United States, between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-two years, and having resided in the State one year and in the election district ten days, as aforesaid, shall be entitled to vote, although they shall not have paid taxes.

Elections.
Section II. All elections shall be by ballot, except those by persons in their representative capacities, who shall vote viva voce.

Electors privilege.
Section III. Electors shall, in all cases except treason, felony, and breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on elections, and in going and returning from them.

Section 4. Added in 1864.

ARTICLE IV

Impeachment.
Section I. The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeaching.

Section II. All impeachments shall be tried by the Senate. When sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be upon oath or affirmation. No person shall be convicted without the concurrences of two-thirds of the members present.

Section III. The Governor, and all other civil officers under this Commonwealth, shall be liable to impeachment for any misbehavior in office; but judgment, in such cases, shall not extend further than to removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit, under this Commonwealth: The party, whether convicted or acquitted, shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment according to law.

ARTICLE V

Judiciary.
Section I. The judicial power of this Commonwealth shall be vested in a Supreme Court, in Courts of Oyer and Terminal and General Jail Delivery, in a Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court, Registers' Court, and a Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace for each county ; in Justices of the Peace, and in such other Courts, as the legislature may from time to time establish.

Appointment of judges of Supreme court.
Section II. The judges of the Supreme Court, of the several courts of Common Pleas, and of such other courts of record as are or shall be established by law, shall be nominated by the Governor, and by and with the consent of the Senate appointed and commissioned by him. The judges of the Supreme Court, shall hold their offices for the term of fifteen years, if they shall so long behave themselves well. The president judges of the several courts of Common Pleas, and of such other courts of Record, as are or shall be established by law, and all other judges required to be learned in the law, shall hold their offices for the term of ten years, if they shall so long behave themselves well. The Associate judges of the courts of Common Pleas, shall hold their offices for the term of five years, if they shall so long behave themselves well. But for any reasonable cause which shall not be sufficient ground of impeachment, the Governor may remove any of them on the address of two-thirds of each branch of the legislature. The judges of the Supreme Court, and the presidents of the several courts of Common Pleas, shall at stated times receive for their services an adequate compensation to be fixed by law, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office; but they shall receive no fees or perquisites of office, nor hold any other office of profit under this Commonwealth.

Amendment of 1850

Com. Pleas.
Section III. Until otherwise directed by law, the courts of Common Pleas shall continue as at present established. Not more than five counties shall at any time be included in one judicial district organized for said courts.

Supreme court.
Section IV. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, shall extend over the State; and the judges thereof, shall by virtue of their offices be justices of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery, in the several counties.

Jurisdiction of Judges Com. Pleas.
Section V. The judges of the court of Common Pleas in each county, shall by virtue of their offices, be justices of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery, for the trial of capital and other offenders therein; any two of the said judges, the president being one, shall be a quorum; but they shall not hold a court of Oyer and Terminer or Jail Delivery in any county, where the judges of the Supreme court, or any of them, shall be sitting in the same county. The party accused, as well as the Commonwealth, may, under such regulations as shall be prescribed by law, remove the indictment and proceedings or a transcript thereof, into the Supreme court.

Chancery powers vested in courts.
Section VI. The Supreme court and the several courts of Common Pleas, shall, beside the powers heretofore usually exercised by them, have the powers of a court of Chancery, so far as relates to the perpetuating of testimony, the obtaining of evidence from places not within the State, and the care of the persons and estates of those who are non compos mentis. And the legislature shall vest in the said courts, such other powers to grant relief in equity, as shall be found necessary; and may, from time to time, enlarge or diminish those powers or vest them in such other courts as they shall judge proper, for the due administration of justice.

Quarter Sessions orphans and registers courts.
Section VII. The judges of the court of Common Pleas of each county, any two of whom shall be a quorum, shall compose the court of Quarter Sessions of the peace, and Orphans' court thereof; and the register of wills, together with the said judges, or any two of them, shall compose the Register's court of each county.

Writs of certiorari.
Section VIII. The judges of the courts of Common Pleas, shall, within their respective counties, have like powers with the judges of the Supreme court, to issue writs of certiorari to the justices of the peace, and to cause their proceedings to be brought before them, and the like right and justice to be done.

Criminal powers.
Section IX. The president of the court in each circuit within such circuit, and the judges of the courts of Common Pleas, within their respective counties, shall be justices of the peace, so far as relates to criminal matters.

Registers and recorders.
Section X. A register's office, for the probate of wills and granting letters of administration, and an office for the recording of deeds, shall be kept in each county.

Style of process.
Section XI. The style of all process shall be, "the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." All prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by the authority of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and conclude, "against the peace and dignity of the same."

ARTICLE VI

Sheriffs and coroners.
Section I. Sheriffs and coroners shall, at the times and places of elections of representatives, be chosen by the citizens of each county. One person shall be chosen for each office, who shall be commissioned by the Governor. They shall hold their offices for three years, if they shall so long behave themselves well, and until a successor be duly qualified; but no person shall be twice chosen or appointed sheriff, in any term of six years. Vacancies in either of the said offices shall be filled by an appointment, to be made by the Governor, to continue until the next general election, and until a successor shall be chosen and qualified as aforesaid.

Militia.
Section II. The freemen of this commonwealth shall be armed, organized, and disciplined for its defence, when and such manner as may be directed by law. Those who conscientiously scruple to bear arms, shall not be compelled to do so, but shall pay an equivalent for personal service.

Public officers appointment and election.
Section III. Prothonotaries of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the said court for the term of three years, if they so long behave themselves well. Prothonotaries and clerks of the several other courts, Recorders of Deeds, and Registers of Wills, shall, at the times and places of election of representatives, be elected by the qualified electors of each county, or the district over which the jurisdiction of said courts extends, and shall be commissioned by the Governor. They shall hold their offices for three years, if they so long behave themselves well, and until their successors shall be duly qualified. The legislature shall provide by law, the number of persons in each county who shall hold said offices, and how many and which of said offices shall be held by one person. Vacancies in any of the said offices shall be filled by appointments to be made by the Governor, to continue until the next general election, and until successors shall be elected and qualified as aforesaid.

Location of offices.
Section IV. Prothonotaries, clerks of the peace and orphans' courts, recorders of deeds, registers of wills, and sheriffs, shall keep their offices in the county town of the county in which they, respectively shall be officers; unless when the Governor shall, for special reasons, dispense therewith, for any term not exceeding five years after the county shall have been erected.

Style of commissioners.
Section V. All commissions shall be in the name and by the authority of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and be sealed with the State seal, and signed by the Governor.

State treasurer.
Section VI. A State Treasurer shall be elected annually, by joint vote of both branches of the legislature.

Amendment of 1872

Elections of justices of the peace and aldermen
Section VII. Justices of the peace or aldermen shall be elected in the several wards, boroughs, and townships, at the same time of the election of constables, by the qualified voters thereof, in such number as shall be directed by law, and shall be commissioned by the Governor for a term of five years; but no township, ward or borough shall elect more than two justices of the peace or aldermen without the consent of a majority of the qualified electors without such township, ward or borough.

Election offices; Prohibitions.
Section VIII. All officers whose election or appointment is not provided for in this constitution, shall be elected or appointed as shall be directed by law. No person shall be appointed to any office within any county who shall not have been a citizen and an inhabitant therein one year next before his appointment, if the county shall have been so long erected; but if it shall not have been so long erected, then within the limits of the county or counties out of which it shall have been taken. No member of congress from this state or any person holding or exercising any office or appointment of trust or profit under the United States, shall at the same time hold or exercise any office in this state to which a salary is, or fees or perquisites are by law annexed; and the legislature may by law declare what State offices are incompatible. No member of the Senate or House of Representatives, shall be appointed by the Governor to any office during the term for which he shall have been elected.

Official terms.
Section IX. All officers for a term of years shall hold their offices for the terms respectively specified, only on the condition that they so long behave themselves well; and shall be removed on conviction of misbehavior in office or of any infamous crime.

Dueling.
Section X. Any person who shall, after the adoption of the amendments proposed by this Convention to the Constitution, fight a duel or send a challenge for that purpose, or be an aider or abettor in fighting a duel, shall be deprived of the right of holding any office of honor or profit in this State, and shall be punished otherwise in such manner as is, or may be prescribed by law; but the executive may remit the said offence and all its disqualifications.

ARTICLE VII

Public schools.
Section I. The legislature shall, as soon as conveniently may be, provide by law for the establishment of schools throughout the State, in such manner that the poor may be taught gratis.

Literature.
Section II. The arts and sciences shall be promoted in one or more seminaries of learning.

Corporations.
Section III. The rights, privileges, immunities and estates of religious societies and corporate bodies shall remain as if the Constitution of this State had not ben altered or amended.

Corporate rections.
Section IV. The legislature shall not invest any corporate body or individual with the privilege of taking private property for public use, without requiring such corporation or individual to make compensation to the owners of said property, or give adequate [security] therefor, before such property shall be taken.

ARTICLE VIII

Oath of office.
Members of the General Assembly, and all officers, executive and judicial, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and to perform the duties of their respective offices with fidelity.

[ARTICLE IX]

That the general, great, and essential principles of Liberty and Free Government may be recognized and unalterably established, WE DECLARE--

Rights of life liberty property &c.
Section I. All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.

Power & government.
Section II. All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness; for the advancement of these ends, they have, at all times, an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government, in such manner as they may think proper.

Rights of conscience &c.
Section III. All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can, of right, be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent; no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishments or modes of worship.

Religion.
Section IV. No person, who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments, shall on account of his religious sentiments be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this commonwealth.

Elections.
Section V. Elections shall be free and equal.

Trial by jury.
Section VI. Trial by jury shall be as heretofore, and the right thereof remain inviolate.

The Press. Libels.
Section VII. The printing presses shall be free to every person who undertakes to examine the proceedings of the legislature or any branch of government, and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man; and every citizen may freely speak, write and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. In prosecutions for the publication of papers investigating the official conduct of officers, or men in a public capacity, or where the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and in all indictments for libels the jury shall have a right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

Searches and seizures.
Section VIII. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from unreasonable searches and seizures; and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or things, shall issue, without describing them as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause supported by oath or affirmation.

Rights of accused in criminal prosecutions.
Section IX. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused hath a right to be heard by himself and his counsel, to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to meet the witnesses face to face, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and, in prosecutions by indictment or information, a speedy public trial, by an impartial jury of the vicinage; he cannot be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor can he be deprived of his life, liberty or property, unless by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land.

Information &c.
Section X. No person shall, for any indictable offence, be proceeded against criminally by information, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger, or by leave of the court, for oppression and misdemeanor in office. No person shall, for the same offence, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall any man's property be taken or applied to public use, without the consent of his representatives, and without just compensation being made.

Courts of justice open suits against state.
Section XI. All courts shall be open, and every man for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by the due course of law, and right and justice administered, without sale, denial or delay. Suits may be brought against the commonwealth in such manner, in such courts, and in such cases as the legislature may by law direct.

Suspending laws.
Section XII. No power of suspending laws shall be exercised, unless by the legislature, or its authority.

Bail.
Section XIII. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted.

Prisoners; Habeas corpus.
Section XIV. All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offences, when the proof is evident or presumption great; and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.

Oyer & terminer &c.
Section XV. No commission of Oyer and Terminer or Gaol Delivery shall be issued.

Insolvent debtors.
Section XVI. The person of a debtor, where there is not strong presumption of fraud shall not be continued in prison, after delivering up his estate for the benefit of his creditors, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.

Ex post facto laws.
Section XVII. No ex post facto law, nor any law impairing contracts shall be made.

Treason and felony.
Section XVIII. No person shall be attainted of treason or felony by the legislature.

Attainder &c.
Section XIX. No attainder shall work corruption of blood, nor except during the life of the offender, forfeiture of estate to the commonwealth; the estates of such persons as shall destroy their own lives ,shall descend or vest as in case of natural death; and if any person shall be killed by casualty, there shall be no forfeiture by reason thereof.

Right to assemble.
Section XX. The citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by petition, address, or remonstrance.

Bear arms.
Section XXI. The right of the citizens to bear arms, in defence of themselves and the State, shall not be questioned.

Military.
Section XXII. No standing army shall, in time of peace, be kept up without the consent of the Legislature; and the military shall, in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.

Quartering of troops.
Section XXIII. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Titles and offices.
Section XXIV. The Legislature shall not grant any title of nobility or hereditary distinction, nor create any office the appointment to which shall be for a longer term than during good behaviour.

Emigration.
Section XXV. Emigration from the State shall not be prohibited.

Exception from the general powers of government.
Section XXVI. To guard against the 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.

ARTICLE X

Amendments how made.

Any amendment or amendments to this Constitution may be proposed in the Senate or House of Representatives; and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each House, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on their journals, with the yeas and nays taken thereon; and the Secretary of the Commonwealth shall cause the same to be published three months before the next election, in at least one newspaper in every county in which a newspaper shall be published; and if, in the Legislature next afterwards chosen, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each House, the Secretary of the Commonwealth shall cause the same again to be published in manner aforesaid; and such proposed amendment or amendments shall be submitted to the people in such manner, and at such time, at least three months after being so agreed to by the two Houses, as the Legislature shall prescribe; and if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of the qualified voters of this State voting thereon, such amendment or amendments shall become a part of the Constitution; but no amendment or amendments shall be submitted to the people oftener than once in five years: Provided, That if more than one amendment be submitted, they shall be submitted in such manner and form that the people may vote for or against each amendment separately and distinctly.

Article XI.

Added in 1857

Amendment of 1864. Section 8.

Amendment of 1864. Section 9.

Article XII.

Of New Counties.

Added in 1857.

SCHEDULE

That no inconvenience may arise from the alterations and amendments in the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and in order to carry the same into complete operation, it is hereby declared and ordained, That

Former laws.
Section I. All laws of this Commonwealth in force at the time when the said alterations and amendments, in the said Constitution, shall take effect, and not inconsistent therewith, and all rights, actions, prosecutions, claims, and contracts, as well of individuals as of bodies corporate, shall continue as if the said alterations and amendments had not been made.

Amendments when to take effect.
Section II. The alterations and amendments in the said Constitution shall take effect from the first day of January, eighteen hundred and thirty-nine.

Articles unaltered to remain as heretofore.
Section III. The clauses, sections, and articles of the said Constitution which remain unaltered, shall continue to be construed and have effect, as if the said Constitution had not been amended.

First general assembly.
Section IV. The General Assembly which shall convene in December, eighteen hundred and thirty eight, shall continue its session as heretofore, notwithstanding the provision in the eleventh section of the first article, and shall at all times be regarded as the first General Assembly under the amended Constitution.

Executive inauguration.
Section V. The Governor, who shall be elected in October, eighteen hundred and thirty-eight, shall be inaugurated on the third Tuesday in January, eighteen hundred and thirty nine; to which time the present Executive term is hereby extended.

Expiration of commissions of judges Supreme court.
Section VI. The commission of the Judges of the Supreme Court, who may be in office on the first day of January next, shall expire in the following manner: The commission which bears the earliest date shall expire on the first day of January, Anno Domini, one thousand eight hundred and forty-two; the commission next dated shall expire on the first day of January, Anno Domini, one thousand eight hundred and forty-five; the commission next dated shall expire on the first day of January, Anno Domini, one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight; the commission next dated shall expire on the first day of January, Ano Domini, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one; and the commission last dated shall expire on the first day of January, Anno Domini, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four.

Expiration of commissions of president judges.
Section VII. The commissions of the president judges of the several judicial districts, and of the associate law judges of the first judicial district, shall expire as follows: The commissions of one half of those who shall have held their offices ten years or more, at the adoption of the amendments to the constitution, shall expire on the twenty-seventh day of February, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine; the commissions of the other half of those who shall have held their offices ten years or more at the adoption of the amendments to the constitution, shall expire on the twenty-seventh day of February, one thousand eight hundred and forty-two; the first half to embrace those whose commissions shall bear the oldest date. The commissions of all the remaining judges who shall not have held their offices for ten years at the adoption of the amendments to the constitution, shall expire on the twenty-seventh day of February next, after the end of ten years from the date of their commissions.

Recorder's & Mayors courts &c.
Section VIII. The Recorders of the several Mayors' Courts, and other criminal courts in this Commonwealth, shall be appointed for the same time, and in the same manner, as the president judges of the several judicial districts; of those now in office, the commission oldest in date shall expire on the twenty-seventh day of February, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, and the others every two years thereafter according to their respective dates. Those oldest in date expiring first.

Classification of associate judges.
Section IX. The Legislature at its first session under the amended constitution, shall divide the other associate judges of the State into four classes. The commissions of those of the first class shall expire on the twenty-seventh day of February, eighteen hundred and forty; of those of the second class on the twenty-seventh day of February, eighteen hundred and forty-one; of those of the third class on the twenty-seventh day of February, eighteen hundred and forty-two; and of those of the fourth class on the twenty-seventh day of February, eighteen hundred and forty-three. The said classes from the first to the fourth, shall be arranged according to the seniority of the commissions of the several judges.

Election public officers.
Section X. Prothonotaries, clerks of the several courts, (except of the Supreme court) recorders of deeds, and registers of wills, shall be first elected under the amended Constitution, at the election of representatives in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-nine, in such manner as may be prescribed by law.

Appointing power as heretofore.
Section XI. The appointing power shall remain as heretofore, and all officers in the appointment of the executive department, shall continue in the exercise of the duties of their respective offices, until the legislature shall pass such laws as may be required by the eighth section of the sixth article of the amended constitution, and until appointments shall be made under such laws, unless their commissions shall be superseded by new appointments, or shall sooner expire by their own limitations, or the said offices shall become vacant by death or resignation; and such laws shall be enacted by the first legislature under the amended constitution.

First election of Aldermen and justices of the peace.
Section XII The first election for aldermen and justices of the peace, shall be held in the year eighteen hundred and forty, at the time fixed for the election of constables. The legislature at its first session under the amended constitution shall provide for the said election and for subsequent similar elections. The aldermen and justices of the peace now in commission, or who may in the interim be appointed, shall continue to discharge the duties of their respective offices, until fifteen days after the day which shall be fixed by law for the issuing of new commissions, at the expiration of which time their commissions shall expire.

In testimony that the foregoing is the amended Constitution of Pennsylvania, as agreed to in Convention, We the officers and members of the Convention have hereunto signed our names at Philadelphia, the twenty-second day of February, Anno Domini, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the sixty-second.

 

 

 

GEORGE A. ACHENBACH,
JOHN E. ADDICKS,
WM. H. AINEY,
HAMILTON ALRICKS,
G. W. ANDREWS,
WM. H. ARMSTRONG,
WM. J. BAER,
JOSEPH BAILEY, Perry Co.,
JNO. M. BAILEY,
WILLIAM D. BAKER,
THOS. B. BANNAN,
GEO. G. BARCLAY,
JOHN BARDSLEY,
JAMES P. BARR,
LIN. BARTHOLOMEW,
M. C. BEEBE,
WM. BIGLER,
C. A. BLACK,
CHAS. O. BOWMAN,
CHARLES BRODHEAD,
J. M. BROOMALL,
R. BROWN,
C. R. BUCKALEW,
JOHN C. BULLITT,
SAML. CALVIN,
JOHN H. CAMPBELL,
HENRY C. CAREY
LEWIS C. CASSIDY,
PEARSON CHURCH,
SILAS M. CLARK,
THOS. E. COCHRAN,
WM. L. CORBETT,
GEORGE N. CORSON,
JNO. B. CRONMILLER,
JAMES W. CURRY,
A.G. CURTIN,
THEO. CUYLER,
GEO. M. DALLAS,
WM. DARLINGTON,
WM. DAVIS,
R. M. de FRANCE,
S. C. T. DODD,
MATTHEW EDWARDS,
M. F. ELLIOTT,
JAS. ELLIS,
THOS. EWING,
C. FINNEY,
M. FULTON,
JOSIAH FUNCK,
JOHN GIBSON,
JOHN GILPIN,
HENRY GREEN,
J. B. GUTHRIE,
JNO. G. HALL,
WILLIAM B. HANNA,
GEO. F. HORTON,
THOS. HOWARD,
CHAS. HUNSICKER,
D. KAINE,

E. C. KNIGHT,
R. A. LAMBERTON,
AUG. S. LANDIS,
GEO. V. LAWRENCE,
WM. LILLY,
W. E. LITTLETON,
WAYNE MacVEAGH,
THOMAS MacCONNELL,
JOEL B. McCAMANT,
WM. McLEAN,
JNO. McCULLOUCH,
MORTON McMICHAEL,
JOHN McMURRAY,
FRANK MANTOR,
JNO. J. METZGER,
SAMUEL MINOR,
LEWIS Z. MITCHELL,
JAMES W. M. NEWLIN,
JEROME B. NILES,
G. W. PALMER,
HENRY W. PALMER,
HENRY C. PARSONS,
D. W. PATTERSON,
T. H. BAIRD PATTERSON,
JOSEPH G. PATTON,
DAN S. PORTER,
LEWIS PUGHE,
ANDREW A. PURMAN,
JOHN N. PURVIANCE,
SAML. A. PURVIANCE,
JOHN R. READ,
AND. REED,
LEVI ROOKE,
GEO. ROSS,
C. M. RUNK,
SAML. L. RUSSELL,
J. McDOWELL SHARPE,
J. ALEXANDER SIMPSON,
H. G. SMITH,
M. HALL STANTON,
JNO. STEWART,
THOMAS STRUTHERS,
BENJAMIN L. TEMPLE,
WM. J. TURRELL,
HENRY VAN REED,
J. M. WETHERILL,
JNO. PRICE WETHERILL,
M. WHERRY,
DAVID N. WHITE,
HARRY WHITE,
GEO. W. WOODWARD,
EDWARD R. WORRELL,
CALEB E. WRIGHT,
EDWARD HARVEY,
MALCOLM HAY,
T. R. HAZZARD,
JOS. HEMPHILL,
JAMES H. HEVERIN,

SOURCE: Laws of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Passed at the Session of 1840, in the Sixty-Fourth Year of Independence: Including Ten Acts and Four Resolutions, Passed by Both Branches of the Legislature, at the Session of 1838-9. Published By Authority. Harrisburg: William D. Boas--Printer. 1840. {iii]-xix.

AMENDMENT OF 1857

Article I, Section 2. The representatives shall be chosen annually, by the citizens on the second Tuesday of October. [Source: 1857 Pa. Laws 810]

AMENDMENT OF 1857

Apportionment of representatives.
Article 1, Section 4. In the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, and in every seventh year thereafter, representatives to the number of one hundred, shall be apportioned and distributed equally, throughout the state by districts, in proportion to the number of taxable inhabitants in the several parts thereof; except that any county containing at least three thousand five hundred taxables, may be allowed a separate representation; but no more than three counties shall be joined, and no county shall be divided, in the formation of a district. Any city containing a sufficient number of taxables to entitle it to at least two representatives, shall have a separate representation assigned it, and shall be divided into convenient districts of contiguous territory, of equal taxable population as near as may be, each of which districts shall elect one representative. [Source: 1857 Pa. Laws 811]

AMENDMENT OF 1857

Article 1, Section 5. The senators shall be chosen for three years by citizens at the same time, in the same manner, and at the same places where they shall vote for representatives. [Source: 1857 Pa. Laws 810 ]

AMENDMENT OF 1857

Senatorial districts in Philadelphia. Apportionment for Philadelphia.
Article 1, Section 7. The senators shall be chosen in districts to be formed by the legislature; but no district shall be formed as to entitle it to elect more than two senators, unless the number of taxable inhabitants in any city or county shall, at any time, be such as to entitle to elect more than two, but no city or county shall be entitled to elect more than four senators; when a district shall be composed of two or more counties, they shall be adjoining and no county shall be divided in forming a district.

The city of Philadelphia shall be divided into single senatorial districts, of contiguous territory as nearly equal in taxable population as possible; but no ward shall be divided in the formation thereof.

The legislature, at its first session, after the adoption of this amendment, shall divide the city of Philadelphia into senatorial and representative districts in the manner above provided; such districts to remain unchanged until the apportionment in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four. [Source: 1857 Pa. Laws 810]

SECTION ADDED IN AMENDMENT OF 1857

Alteration or revocation of charters.
Article I, Section 26. The legislature shall have the power to alter, revoke, or annul, any charter of incorporation hereafter conferred by, or under, any special, or general law, whenever in their opinion it may be injurious to the citizens of the commonwealth; in such manner, however, that no injustice shall be done to the corporators. [Source: 1857 Pa. Laws 810]

AMENDMENT ADDED IN 1864

Article III, Section 4. Whenever any of the qualified electors of this commonwealth shall be in any actual military service under a requisition from the President of the United States or by the authority of this commonwealth, such electors may exercise the right of suffrage in all elections by the citizens, under such regulations as are or shall be prescribed by law, as fully as if they were present at their usual place of election. [Source: 1864 Pa. Laws 1054]

AMENDMENT OF 1850

Article V, Section 2. The judges of the Supreme Court, of the several Courts of Common Pleas, and of such other courts of record as are or shall be established by law, shall be elected by the qualified electors of the Commonwealth in the manner following, to wit: The judges of the Supreme Court, by the qualified electors of the Commonwealth at large; the president judges of the several Courts of Common Pleas and of such other courts of record as are or shall be established by law, and all other judges required to be learned in the law, by the qualified electors of the respective districts over which they are to preside or act as judges; and the associate judges of the Courts of Common Pleas, by the qualified electors of the counties respectively. The judges of the Supreme Court shall hold their offices for the term of fifteen years, if they so long behave themselves well (subject to the allotment hereinafter provided for, subsequent to the first election); the president judges of the several Courts of Common Pleas, and of such other courts of record as are or shall be established by law, and all other judges required to be learned in the law, shall hold their offices for the term of ten years, if they shall so long behave themselves well; the associate judges of the Courts of Common Pleas shall hold their offices for the term of five years, if they shall so long behave themselves well; all of whom shall be commissioned by the Governor, but for any reasonable cause which shall not be sufficient grounds of impeachment, the Governor shall remove any of them on the address of two-thirds of each branch of the legislature. The first election shall take place at the general election of this Commonwealth next after the adoption of this amendment, and the commissions of all the judges who may be then in office shall expire on the first Monday of December following, when the terms of the new judges shall commence. The persons who shall then be elected judges of the Supreme Court shall hold their offices as follows: One of them for three years, one for six years, one for nine years, one for twelve years, and one for fifteen years, the term of each to be decided by lot by the said judges, as soon after the election as convenient, and the result certified by them to the Governor, that the commissions may be issued in accordance thereto. The judge whose commission will first expire shall be chief justice during his term, and thereafter each judge whose commission shall first expire shall in turn be the chief justice; and if two or more commissions shall expire on the same day, the judges holding them shall decide by lot which shall be the chief justice. Any vacancies happening by death, resignation, or otherwise in any of the said courts, shall be filled by appointment by the Governor, to continue till the first Monday of December succeeding the next general election. The judges of the Supreme Court and presidents of the several Courts of Common Pleas shall, at stated times, receive for their service an adequate compensation, to be fixed by law, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office; but they shall receive no fees or perquisites of office, nor hold any other office of profit under this Commonwealth, or under the government of the United States, or any other State of this Union. The judges of the Supreme Court, during their continuance in office, shall reside within the Commonwealth; and the other judges during their continuance in office shall reside within the district or county for which they were respectively elected. [Source: 1851 Pa. Laws 758]

AMENDMENT OF 1872

Article VI, Section 6. A state treasurer shall be chosen by the qualified electors of the state, at such times appointed and for such term of service as shall be prescribed by law. [Source: 1872 Pa. Laws 1194]

ARTICLE XI
(AMENDMENT OF 1857)

For what the state may contract debts. Amount of debt limited. How the money raised must be appropriated.

Section 1. The state may contract debts, to supply casual deficits or failures in revenues, or to meet expenses not otherwise provided for; but the aggregate amount of such debts direct and contingent, whether contracted by virtue of one or more acts of the general assembly, or at different periods of time, shall never exceed seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and the money arising from the creation of such debts, shall be applied to the purposes for which it was obtained, or to repay the debts so contracted, and to no other purpose whatever.

War debts may be contracted. Appropriation of the money raised.
Section 2. In addition to the above limited power the State may contract debts to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, defend the state in war, or to redeem the present outstanding indebtedness of the state; but the money arising from the contracting of such debts shall be applied to the purpose for which it was raised or to repay such debts, and to no other purpose whatever.

Other debts prohibited.
Section 3. Except the debts above specified, in sections one and two of this article, no debt whatever shall be created by, or on behalf of the state.

A sinking fund to be created.
Section 4. To provide for the payment of the present debt, and any additional debt contracted as aforesaid, the legislature shall, at its first session, after the adoption of this amendment, create a sinking fund, which shall be sufficient to pay the accruing interest on such debt, and annually to reduce the principal thereof by a sum not less than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars; which sinking fund shall consist of the net annual income of the public works, from time to time owned by the state, or the proceeds of the sale of the same, or any part thereof, and of the income or proceeds of sale of stocks owned by the state, together with other funds, or resources, that may be designated by law. The said sinking fund may be increased, from time to time, by assigning to it any part of the taxes, or other revenues of the state not required for the ordinary and current expenses of government, and unless in case of war, invasion or insurrection, no part of the said sinking fund shall be used or applied otherwise than in extinguishment of the public debt, until the amount of such debt is reduced below the sum of five millions of dollars.

The credit of the commonwealth not to be loaned to individuals or companies.
Section 5. The credit of the commonwealth shall not in any manner, or event, be pledged, or loaned, to any individual, company, corporation, or association; nor shall the commonwealth hereafter become a joint owner, or stockholder, in any company, association, or corporation.

The commonwealth prohibited from assuming debts.
Section 6. The commonwealth shall not assume the debt, or any part thereof, of any county, city, borough, or township; or of any corporation or association; unless such debt shall have been contracted to enable the state to repel invasion, suppress domestic insurrection, defend itself in time of war, or to assist the state in the discharge of any portion of its present indebtedness.

Counties, &c., prohibited from being stockholders, &c., in corporations.
Section 7. The legislature shall not authorize any county, city, borough, township, or incorporated district, by virtue of a vote of its citizens, or otherwise, to become a stockholder in any company, association, or corporation; or to obtain money for, or loan its credit to any, corporation, association, institution, or party. [Source: 1857 Pa. Laws 809]

SECTION ADDED IN 1864

8. No bill shall be passed by the legislature, containing more one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in the title, except appropriation bills. [Source: 1864 Pa. Laws 1054]

SECTION ADDED IN 1864

9. No bill shall be passed by the legislature granting any powers, or privileges, in any case, where the authority to grant such powers, or privileges, has been, or may hereafter be, conferred upon the courts of this commonwealth. [Source: 1864 Pa. Laws 1054]

AMENDMENT OF 1857

ARTICLE XII.

Of New Counties

New counties.
No county shall be divided by a line cutting off over one-tenth of its population (either to form a new county or otherwise) without the express assent of such county, by a vote of the electors thereof, nor shall any new county be established, containing less than four hundred square miles. [Source: 1857 Pa. Laws 810]