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By Chuck Johnson, Montana Free Press

Bob Campbell Montana Constitution

Campbell, who died in Missoula April 5, praised for his work on the 1972 Montana Constitution.

Tributes poured in Wednesday for Bob Campbell, who as a delegate to the 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention wrote the document’s provisions for the right to privacy and the right to a clean and healthful environment.

Campbell died Tuesday night in Missoula. He was 81 and died of natural causes after suffering from dementia.

He also co-authored with delegate Mae Nan Ellingson this widely praised preamble to the state Constitution:

“We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution.”

Jon Ellingson, a retired Missoula lawyer, praised the right to privacy that his close friend Campbell added to the Constitution. It reads: “The right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be infringed upon without the showing of a compelling state interest.”

“That is so profound and has so many implications to public policy that I hope our court can flesh out in greater detail in the coming years,” Ellingson said “With the upcoming challenge to abortion rights, it is a bulwark against the infringement of a woman’s right to privacy to make her own decisions about her body.”

After initially failing, Campbell finally succeeded in placing the right to a clean and healthful environment in the Constitution.

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