Article I, Nebraska Constitution

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Nebraska Constitution
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Article I of the Nebraska Constitution contains 30 sections.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Statement of Rights

All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the right to keep and bear arms for security or defense of self, family, home, and others, and for lawful common defense, hunting, recreational use, and all other lawful purposes, and such rights shall not be denied or infringed by the state or any subdivision thereof. To secure these rights, and the protection of property, governments are instituted among people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.[1]


  • Amended in 1988 with the approval of Initiative Measure No. 403.

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Slavery Prohibited

There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in this state, otherwise than for punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.[1]

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Due Process of Law; Equal Protection

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor be denied equal protection of the laws.[1]


  • Amended in 1998, Laws 1997, LR 20CA, sec. 1.

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Religious Freedom

All persons have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No person shall be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship against his consent, and no preference shall be given by law to any religious society, nor shall any interference with the rights of conscience be permitted. No religious test shall be required as a qualification for office, nor shall any person be incompetent to be a witness on account of his religious beliefs; but nothing herein shall be construed to dispense with oaths and affirmations. Religion, morality, and knowledge, however, being essential to good government, it shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass suitable laws to protect every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship, and to encourage schools and the means of instruction.[1]

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Freedom of Speech and Press

Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty; and in all trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth when published with good motives, and for justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense.[1]

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Trial by Jury

The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate, but the Legislature may authorize trial by a jury of a less number than twelve in courts inferior to the District Court, and may by general law authorize a verdict in civil cases in any court by not less than five-sixths of the jury.[1]


  • Amended in 1920 by Constitutional Convention, 1919-1920, No. 1.

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Search and Seizure

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 by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized.[1]

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Habeas Corpus

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.[1]


Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Bail; Fines; Imprisonment; Cruel and Unusual Punishment

All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for treason, sexual offenses involving penetration by force or against the will of the victim, and murder, where the proof is evident or the presumption great. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.[1]


  • Amended in 1978, Laws 1978, LB 553, sec. 1.

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Presentment or Indictment by Grand Jury; Information

No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense, except in cases in which the punishment is by fine, or imprisonment otherwise than in the penitentiary, in case of impeachment, and in cases arising in the army and navy, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury; Provided, That the Legislature may by law provide for holding persons to answer for criminal offenses on information of a public prosecutor; and may by law, abolish, limit, change, amend, or otherwise regulate the grand jury system.[1]

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Rights of Accused

In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to appear and defend in person or by counsel, to demand the nature and cause of accusation, and to have a copy thereof; to meet the witnesses against him face to face; to have process to compel the attendance of witnesses in his behalf; and a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense is alleged to have been committed.[1]

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Evidence Against Self; Double Jeopardy

No person shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to give evidence against himself, or be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense.[1]

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

Justice Administered without Delay; Legislature; Authorization to Enforce Mediation and Arbitration

All courts shall be open, and every person, for any injury done him or her in his or her lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall have a remedy by due course of law and justice administered without denial or delay, except that the Legislature may provide for the enforcement of mediation, binding arbitration agreements, and other forms of dispute resolution which are entered into voluntarily and which are not revocable other than upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.[1]


Section 14

Text of Section 14:


Treason against the state shall consist only in levying war against the state, 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]

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Penalties; Corruption of Blood; Transporting out of State Prohibited

All penalties shall be proportioned to the nature of the offense, and no conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate; nor shall any person be transported out of the state for any offense committed within the state.[1]

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Bill of Attainder; Retroactive Laws; Contracts; Special Privileges

No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or making any irrevocable grant of special privileges or immunities shall be passed.[1]

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Military Subordinate

The military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.[1]

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Soldiers Quarters

No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war except in the manner prescribed by law.[1]

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

Soldiers Quarters

Right of peaceable assembly and to petition government. The right of the people peaceably to assemble to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.[1]

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

Imprisonment for Debt Prohibited

No person shall be imprisoned for debt in any civil action on mesne or final process.[1]


Section 21

Text of Section 21:

Private Property Compensated for

The property of no person shall be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation therefore.[1]

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Elections to Be Free

All elections shall be free; and there shall be no hindrance or impediment to the right of a qualified voter to exercise the elective franchise.[1]

Section 23

Text of Section 23:

Capital Cases; Right of Direct Appeal; Effect; Other Cases; Right of Appeal

In all capital cases, appeal directly to the Supreme Court shall be as a matter of right and shall operate as a supersedeas to stay the execution of the sentence of death until further order of the Supreme Court. In all other cases, criminal or civil, an aggrieved party shall be entitled to one appeal to the appellate court created pursuant to Article V, section 1, of this Constitution or to the Supreme Court as may be provided by law.[1]


Section 24

Text of Section 24:

Capital Cases; Right of Direct Appeal; Effect; Other Cases; Right of Appeal



  • Repealed in 1990, Laws 1990, LR 8, sec. 1.

Section 25

Text of Section 25:

Rights of Property; No Discrimination; Aliens

There shall be no discrimination between citizens of the United States in respect to the acquisition, ownership, possession, enjoyment or descent of property. The right of aliens in respect to the acquisition, enjoyment and descent of property may be regulated by law.[1]


  • Amended in 1920 by Constitutional Convention, 1919-1920, No. 2.

Section 26

Text of Section 26:

Powers Retained by People

This enumeration of rights shall not be construed to impair or deny others, retained by the people, and all powers not herein delegated, remain with the people.[1]

Section 27

Text of Section 27:

English Language to Be Official

The English language is hereby declared to be the official language of this state, and all official proceedings, records and publications shall be in such language, and the common school branches shall be taught in said language in public, private, denominational and parochial schools.[1]


  • Amended in 1920 by Constitutional Convention, 1919-1920, No. 3.

Section 28

Text of Section 28:

Crime Victims; Rights Enumerated; Effect; Legislature; Duties

(1) A victim of a crime, as shall be defined by law, or his or her guardian or representative shall have: The right to be informed of all criminal court proceedings; the right to be present at trial unless the trial court finds sequestration necessary for a fair trial for the defendant; and the right to be informed of, be present at, and make an oral or written statement at sentencing, parole, pardon, commutation, and conditional release proceedings. This enumeration of certain rights for crime victims shall not be construed to impair or deny others provided by law or retained by crime victims.

(2) The Legislature shall provide by law for the implementation of the rights granted in this section. There shall be no remedies other than as specifically provided by the Legislature for the enforcement of the rights granted by this section.

(3) Nothing in this section shall constitute a basis for error in favor of a defendant in any criminal proceeding, a basis for providing standing to participate as a party to any criminal proceeding, or a basis to contest the disposition of any charge.[1]


Section 29

Text of Section 29:

Marriage; Same-Sex Relationships Not Valid or Recognized

Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska. The uniting of two persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar same-sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska.[1]


Section 30

Text of Section 30:

Discrimination or Grant of Preferential Treatment Prohibited; Public Employment, Public Education, or Public Contracting; Section, How Construed; Remedies

(1) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(2) This section shall apply only to action taken after the section's effective date.

(3) Nothing in this section prohibits bona fide qualifications based on sex that are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(4) Nothing in this section shall invalidate any court order or consent decree that is in force as of the effective date of this section.

(5) Nothing in this section prohibits action that must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, if ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.

(6) For purposes of this section, state shall include, but not be limited to:

(a) the State of Nebraska;

(b) any agency, department, office, board, commission, committee, division, unit, branch, bureau, council, or sub-unit of the state;

(c) any public institution of higher education;

(d) any political subdivision of or within the state; and

(e) any government institution or instrumentally of or within the state.

(7) The remedies available for violations of this section shall be the same, regardless of the injured party's race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, as are otherwise available for violations of Nebraska's antidiscrimination law.

(8) This section shall be self executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with federal law or the Constitution of the United States, this section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that federal law and the Constitution of the United States permit. Any provision held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.[1]


See also

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