Monday, December 29, 2014

Chicoine and Garry on South Dakota's 19th-Century Constitutional Debates

Catherine Chicoine and Patrick M. Garry, University of South Dakota School of Law, have posted The 1885 and 1889 Constitutional Convention Debates, which appears South Dakota Law Review 59 (2014).  Here is the abstract:    
The Constitution, adopted when South Dakota achieved statehood, was the product of three constitutional conventions. Each of the proposed constitutions produced by subsequent conventions built upon the work of previous conventions. Therefore, determining the intended meaning of provisions in the 1889 Constitution may require a consultation of debates related to similar provisions in previously proposed constitutions. However, those convention’s debates are not organized well or clearly regarding topic or subject matter.

Fortunately, the South Dakota legislature had the foresight to preserve and publish the convention debates from 1885 and 1889. An act entitled Act Providing for the Publication of the Debates of the Constitution Conventions of 1885 and 1889, enacted by the Legislature of the State of South Dakota of 1897, directed the state librarian to edit and prepare the 1885 and 1889 debates for publication.

As a way of examining the concerns and controversies that existed during South Dakota’s constitutional formation, this Article attempts to summarize and highlight the areas of significant debate at the 1885 and 1889 conventions.