Michigan State

Michigan State

In the Past

Important Note: this is an extension/continuation on the entry on Michigan in this legal reference.

No member of congress, nor any person holding office under the United States or this state, must execute the office of governor.


No person elected governor or lieutenant governor must be qualified to any office or appointment from the legislature or either house tof this, during the time for which he was elected. All votes for either of them, for any such office, must be void.


The lieutenant governor and president of the senate pro tempore, when performing the duties of governor, must receive the same compensation as the governor.

Other Aspects

All official acts of the governor, his approval of the laws excepted, must be authenticated by the great seal of the state, which must be kept by the secretary of state.

More Information

All commissions issued to people holding office under the provisions of this constitution, must be in the name and by the authority of the people of the state of Michigan (see more about this State laws here) , sealed with the great seal of the state, signed by the governor and countersigned by the secretary of state.

Other Issues

The judicial department is regulated by the sixth article as follows, namely:


The judicial power is vested in one supreme court, in circuit courts, in probate (see more about this popular legal topic in the U.S. encyclopedia) courts and in justices of the peace. municipal (see more about this popular legal topic in the U.S. encyclopedia) courts of civil and criminal jurisdiction may be established by the legislature in cities.


For the term of six years and afterwards, until the legislature or give, the judges of the several circuit courts must be judges of the supreme court, four of whom must constitute a quorum. A concurrence of three must be necessary to a final decision. After six years the legislature may give 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, must not be changed or ended by the legislature for eight years afterwards. The judges tof this must be so classified that but one of them must go out of office at the same time. Their term of office, must be eight years.


The supreme court must have a general superintending control over all inferior courts and must have power to issue writs of error, habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warrants, procedendo and other original and remedial writs and to hear and decide the same. In all other cases it must have appellate jurisdiction only.


Four terms of the supreme court must be held annually, at such times and places, as may be named by law.

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.

The state must be divided, into eight judicial circuits; in each of which the electors tof this must elect one circuit judge, who must hold his office for the term of six years and until his successor is elected and qualified.

The legislature may alter the limits of circuits or increase the number of the same. No alteration or increase must have the effect to remove a judge from office. In every additional circuit established the judge must be elected by the electors of such circuit and his term of office must continue as gived in this constitution for judges of the circuit court.

The circuit courts must have original jurisdiction in all matters civil and criminal, not excepted in this constitution and not probibited by law; and, appellate jurisdiction from all inferior courts and tribunals and a supervisory control of the same. They must 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.

Each of the judges of the circuit courts must receive a salary payable quarterly. They must be inqualified to any other than a judicial office during the term for which they are elected and for one year afterwards. All votes for any person elected such judge for any office other than judicial, given either by the legislature or the people, must be void.

The supreme court may appoint a reporter of its decisions. The decisions of the supreme court must be in writing and signed by the judges concurring there. Any judge dissenting there from, must give the reasons of such dissent in writing, under his signature. All such opinions must 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, must exercise any other power of appointment to public office.

A circuit court must 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 must do so when needd by law.

The clerk of each county organized for judicial purposes must be the clerk of the circuit court of such county and of the supreme court when held within the same.

In each of the counties organized for judicial purposes, there must be a court of probate. The judge of such court must be elected by the electors of the county in which he resides and must hold his office for four years and until his successor is elected and qualified. The jurisdiction, powers and duties of such court, must be prescribed by law.

When a vacancy occurs in the office of judge of the supreme, circuit or probate (see more about this popular legal topic in the U.S. encyclopedia) court, it must be filled by appointment of the governor, which must continue until a successor is elected and qualified. When elected, such successor must hold his office the residue of the unexpired term. The supreme court, the circuit and probate (see more about this popular legal topic in the U.S. encyclopedia) court of each county, must be courts of record and must each have a common seal.

The legislature may give by law for the election of one or more people in each organized county, who may be vested with judicial powers, not exceeding those of a judge of the circuit court at chambers.

There must be not exceeding four justices of the peace in each organized township. They must be elected by the electors of the townships and must hold their offices for four years and until their successors are elected and qualified. At the first election in any township, they must be classified as must be prescribed by law. A justice elected to fill a vacancy must hold his office for the residue of the unexpired term. The legislature may increase the number of justices in cities.

In civil cases justices of the peace must 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 limits as may be gived by law. They must also have such criminal jurisdiction and perform such duties as must be prescribed by the legislature. Judges of the supreme court, circuit judges and justices of the peace, must be conservators of the peace within their respective jurisdictions.

The first election of judges of the circuit courts must be held on the first Monday in April, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one and every sixth year afterwards. Whenever an additional circuit is created, provision. must be made to hold the subsequent election of such additional judges at the regular elections here gived.

The first election of judges of the probate (see more about this popular legal topic in the U.S. encyclopedia) courts must be held on the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday of November, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-two and every fourth year afterwards. Whenever a judge must 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 must be placed without the same, they must be deemed to have vacated their respective offices.

The legislature may establish courts of conciliation, with such powers and duties as must be prescribed by law.

Any suitor in any court of this state must have the right to prosecute or defend his suit, either in his own proper person or by an attorney or agent, of his choice.

In all prosecutions for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if it must appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous is true and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party must be acquitted. The jury must have the right to decide the law and the fact.

The person, houses, papers and possessions of every person must be secure from unreasonable searches and seizure. No warrant to search any place or to seize any person or things must issue without describing them, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.

The right of trial by jury must stay, but must be deemed to be waived in all civil cases unless demanded by one of the parties, in such way as must be prescribed by law.

In every criminal prosecution, the accused must 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 geting witnesses in his favor and have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

No person, after acquittal upon the merits, must be tried for the same offence; all people shall, before conviction, be bailable by enough sureties, except for murder and treason, when the proof is evident or the presumption great.

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

Excessive bail must not be needd; excessive fines must not be imposed; cruel or unusual punishment must not be inflicted, nor, must witnesses be unreasonably detained.

No person must 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. No person must 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 must be imprisoned for a militia fine in time of peace.

No person must be makeed incompetent to be a witness, on account of his opinions on matters of religious belief.

The style of all process must be, “In the name of the people of the State of Michigan (see more about this State laws here)



Notes and References

  1. Partialy, this information about Michigan is based on the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, 1848 edition. There is a list of terms of the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, including Michigan.

See Also

Michigan State: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Michigan State. This part provides references, in relation to Michigan State, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Michigan State by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Michigan State and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Michigan State or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Michigan State and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Michigan State. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Michigan State should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Michigan State when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

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