All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, or acquiring and protecting property and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The right of persons to work shall not be denied, or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union, or labor organization. [as adopted Nov. 1946]
The right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed. No person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or position on account of his religious opinions; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse licentiousness, the invasion of the rights of others, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state.
No person shall be compelled to attend or support any ministry or place of worship against his consent nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship. No money or property of the state shall be given or appropriated for the benefit of any sectarian or religious society or institution.
The right of petition and of the people peaceably to assemble to consult for the common good and make known their opinions, shall never be abridged.
Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right. In all trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published with good motives and for justifiable ends, shall be sufficient defense. The jury shall have the right to determine the fact and the law under the direction of the court.
The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate and shall extend to all cases at law without regard to the amount in controversy, but the legislature may provide for a jury of less than twelve in any court not a court of record and for the decision of civil cases by three-fourths of the jury in any court.
In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to defend in person and by counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him; to have a copy thereof; to meet the witnesses against him face to face; to have compulsory process serve for obtaining witnesses in his behalf, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense is alleged to have been committed.
All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses when the proof is evident or presumption great. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to give evidence against himself or be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense.
No person shall be held for a criminal offense unless on the presentment or indictment of a grand jury, or information of the public prosecutor, except in cases of impeachment, in cases cognizable by county courts, by justices of the peace, and in cases arising in the army and navy, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger: Provided, that the grand jury may be modified or abolished by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause supported affidavit, particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.
No ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts or making any irrevocable grant of privilege, franchise or immunity, shall be passed.
Private property shall not be take for public use, or damaged, without just compensation, which will be determined according to legal procedure established by the Legislature and according to Section 6 of this article. No benefit which may accrue to the owner as a result of an improvement made by any private corporation shall be considered in fixing the compensation for property taken or damaged. The fee of land taken for railroad tracks or other highways shall remain in such owners, subject to the use for which it is taken. [adopted 1962]
No distinction shall ever be made by law between resident aliens and citizens, in reference to the possession, enjoyment or descent of property.
No person shall be imprisoned for debt arising out of or founded upon contract.
The military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power. No soldier shall in time of peace shall be quartered in any house without consent of the owner, nor in time of war except in the manner prescribed by law.
No tax or duty shall be imposed without the consent of the people or their representatives in the legislature, and all taxation shall be equal and uniform.
No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens or corporation, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens or corporations.
Elections shall be free and equal, and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage. Soldiers in time of war may vote at their post of duty in or out of the state, under regulations to be prescribed by the legislature.
All courts shall be open, and every man for an injury done him in his property, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice, administered without denial or delay.
No power of suspending laws shall be exercised, unless by the legislature or its authority.
No person shall be attainted of treason or felony by the legislature.
Excessive bail shall not be required, excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted.
The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be denied.
Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, or in giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or confession in open court.
All political power is inherent in the people, and all free government is founded on their authority and is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right in lawful and constituted methods to alter or reform their forms of government in such manner as they may think proper. And the state of South Dakota is an inseparable part of the American Union and the constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.
The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.