Article I, Alaska Constitution

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Alaska Constitution
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Article I of the Alaska Constitution is entitled Declaration of Rights. It has 25 sections, several of which include phrases borrowed from the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. It has been amended 6 times, more than any other article of the Alaska Constitution. The original constitution, adopted by the Constitutional Convention and ratified by the People of Alaska in 1956, contained only 21 sections in Article I. Sections 22-25 have since been added.[1]

Amendments to Article I

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Inherent Rights

This constitution is dedicated to the principles that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the rewards of their own industry; that all persons are equal and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law; and that all persons have corresponding obligations to the people and to the State.[1][2]

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Source of Government

All political power is inherent in the people. All government originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the people as a whole.[1][2]

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Civil Rights

No person is to be denied the enjoyment of any civil or political right because of race, color, creed, sex, or national origin. The legislature shall implement this section.[1][2]


Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Freedom of Religion

No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.[1][2]

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Freedom of Speech

Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.[1][2]

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Assembly; Petition

The right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government shall never be abridged.[1][2]

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Due Process

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. The right of all persons to fair and just treatment in the course of legislative and executive investigations shall not be infringed.[1][2]

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Grand Jury

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the armed forces in time of war or public danger. Indictment may be waived by the accused. In that case the prosecution shall be by information. The grand jury shall consist of at least twelve citizens, a majority of whom concurring may return an indictment. The power of grand juries to investigate and make recommendations concerning the public welfare or safety shall never be suspended.[1][2]

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Jeopardy and Self-Incrimination

No person shall be put in jeopardy twice for the same offense. No person shall be compelled in any criminal proceeding to be a witness against himself.[1][2]

Section 10

Text of Section 10:


Treason against the State consists only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, 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 on confession in open court.[1][2]

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Rights of Accused

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of twelve, except that the legislature may provide for a jury of not more than twelve nor less than six in courts not of record. The accused is entitled to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be released on bail, except for capital offenses when the proof is evident or the presumption great; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.[1][2]

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Criminal Administration

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Criminal administration shall be based upon the following: the need for protecting the public, community condemnation of the offender, the rights of victims of crimes, restitution from the offender, and the principle of reformation.[1][2]


Section 13

Text of Section 13:

Habeas Corpus

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or actual or imminent invasion, the public safety requires it.[1][2]

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Searches and Seizures

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses and other property, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. No warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.[1][2]

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Prohibited State Action

No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed. No law impairing the obligation of contracts, and no law making any irrevocable grant of special privileges or immunities shall be passed. No conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.[1][2]

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Civil Suits; Trial by Jury

In civil cases where the amount in controversy exceeds two hundred fifty dollars, the right of trial by a jury of twelve is preserved to the same extent as it existed at common law. The legislature may make provision for a verdict by not less than three-fourths of the jury and, in courts not of record, may provide for a jury of not less than six or more than twelve.[1][2]

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Imprisonment for Debt

There shall be no imprisonment for debt. This section does not prohibit civil arrest of absconding debtors.[1][2]

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Eminent Domain

Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation.[1][2]

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

Right to Keep and Bear Arms

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.[1][2]


  • The Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms Amendment, approved by Alaskan voters in 1994, appended this text to the original text of Section 19: The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

Quartering Soldiers

No member of the armed forces shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner or occupant, or in time of war except as prescribed by law. The military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.[1][2]

Section 21

Text of Section 21:


The enumeration of rights in this constitution shall not impair or deny others retained by the people.[1][2]

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Right of Privacy

The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed. The legislature shall implement this section.[1][2]


  • Article I, Section 22 became part of the Alaska Constitution in 1972 when the voters approved the Right of Privacy ballot question.

Section 23

Text of Section 23:

Resident Preference

This constitution does not prohibit the State from granting preferences, on the basis of Alaska residence, to residents of the State over nonresidents to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.[1][2]


Section 24

Text of Section 24:

Rights of Crime Victims

Crime victims, as defined by law, shall have the following rights as provided by law: the right to be reasonably protected from the accused through the imposition of appropriate bail or conditions of release by the court; the right to confer with the prosecution; the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness during all phases of the criminal and juvenile justice process; the right to timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused; the right to obtain information about and be allowed to be present at all criminal or juvenile proceedings where the accused has the right to be present; the right to be allowed to be heard, upon request, at sentencing, before or after conviction or juvenile adjudication, and at any proceeding where the accused's release from custody is considered; the right to restitution from the accused; and the right to be informed, upon request, of the accused's escape or release from custody before or after conviction or juvenile adjudication.[1][2]


Section 25

Text of Section 25:


To be valid or recognized in this State, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman.[1][2]


See also

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