Comparing Oklahoma’s Constitution and the U.S. Constitution
The United States of America (USA), often called the United States (U.S.), is a federal republic that comprises 50 states. Oklahoma is a state situated in the South Central United States. The U.S. constitution and Oklahoma’s constitution have numerous similarities. The powers of the government are divided into the executive, legislature, and judicial sections. Moreover, the executive is in charge of effecting laws conceded by the legislature. Both constitutions describe the organization of the appropriate court structure, and other sections establish how the political entity raises and spends money (Levinson, 2003).
Additionally, both the U.S and the Oklahoma constitution comprise provisions that assist in ensuring that there is cooperation between the branches and the means to avert one branch from becoming strong enough to devastate another. Moreover, the documents at the two levels have provisions for amending the constitution when the citizens and representatives feel it essential. The U.S and Oklahoma constitutions begin with a preamble, which introduces the constitution and defines its goal. Just as the U.S. constitution provides the rules on the way the U.S government should be run, the Oklahoma constitution offers rules on the way the state government should be run (Parry, 2011).
Both constitutions also have various differences. Firstly, the United States president heads the executive in the United States whereas in Oklahoma, the governor heads the executive. Secondly, the judicial power of the U.S is vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the congress may decide, while the judicial power in Oklahoma is vested in a Supreme Court, courts of general jurisdiction, and courts of limited jurisdiction (Levinson, 2003). Thirdly, all the legislative powers in the U.S constitution are vested in the congress of the United Sates that comprises a Senate and House of representatives, where as in the Oklahoma constitution, the legislative powers are vested in the Oklahoma legislature that comprise the senate and the House of representatives. In addition, the U.S Senate comprises two senators from every state elected for four years whereas the Oklahoma senators are selected for four-year terms.
The Oklahoma constitution has a statement of bill of rights, but its preamble states the principles the government of Oklahoma should uphold. The rights that are protected by the constitution include the following: the political power derives from the consent of the people, people’s inherent right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of gains of their own industry. Additionally, individuals also have a right to peaceful assembly and petition, right to bail, right of suffrage, the definition of treason, and the right to trial by jury. Furthermore, marriage Oklahoma is defined as being between a man and a woman (Parry, 2011).
The U.S bill of rights is stated in the top ten amendments. Just as the Oklahoma constitution, the U.S constitution also provides specific protection of individuals’ liberty and justice and restricts the powers of government. The U.S Constitution’s bill of rights includes freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition, right to bear arms, quartering of troops, search and seizure, Grand Jury, double jeopardy, self-incrimination and due process. Others include criminal prosecutions, common law suits, excess bail or fines, cruel and unusual punishment, non-enumerated rights and rights reserved to states or people (Levinson, 2003).
The right to privacy is vital because individuals can be hurt or incapacitated if there is no constraint on the public’s access to and utilization of personal information or property. Additionally, humans as dignified and independent beings require respect for personal privacy. The right to privacy is not openly mentioned in the Oklahoma constitution. It is stated in the private property aspect whereby no private property is taken for private use without the owner’s consent or for public use without just compensation. The words used are, “No private property shall be taken or damaged for private use, with or without compensation, unless by consent of the owner, except for private ways of necessity, or for drains and ditches across lands of others for agricultural, mining, or sanitary purposes, in such manner as may be prescribed by law”. Another statement is that private possessions shall not be grabbed or damaged for public usage without fair reimbursement (Parry, 2011).
The privacy protection offered by the Oklahoma state provides less protection than the U.S. constitution’s implied right to privacy. For instance, in the U.S. constitution, the first amendment permits the privacy of beliefs, the third amendment guards the privacy of the home against any calls to be utilized to house soldiers, the fourth one protects the privacy of an individual and properties from unreasonable searches, and the fifth one offers privacy of personal information through averting self-incrimination (Levinson, 2003).
Use of explicit language in a constitution is important in assisting all individuals to understand the rights protected by the constitution. However, general constitutional language is preferred to avoid any misinterpretation that can violate the rights of individuals. Both the Oklahoma constitution and the U.S constitution use the general constitutional language that is not subject to misinterpretation.
Levinson, S. (2003). Looking Abroad When Interpreting the US Constitution: Some Reflections. Tex. Int’l LJ, 39, 353.
Parry, J. T. (2011). Oklahoma’s Save Our State Amendment: Two Issues for the Appeal. Okla. L. Rev., 64, 161.