Article XV Rhode Island constitution provides:
Section 1. Rights and duties of public bodies unaffected -- Continuation of laws, ordinances, regulations and rules. -- The rights and duties of all public bodies shall remain as if this constitution had not been adopted with the exception of such changes as are contained in this constitution. All laws, ordinances, regulations and rules of court not contrary to, or inconsistent with, the provisions of this constitution shall remain in force, until they shall expire by their own limitation or shall be altered or repealed pursuant to this constitution.
Traugott v. Petit, 404 A. 2d 77 - RI: Supreme Court 1979 provides:
Under the common law, individuals have the right to change their name as long as they do so with a nonfraudulent purpose. Secretary of the Commonwealth v. City Clerk, 373 Mass. 178, ___, 366 N.E.2d 717, 721 (1977); Stuart v. Board of Supervisors of Elections, 266 Md. 440, 446-47, 295 A.2d 223, 226-27 (1972); Piotrowski v. Piotrowski, 71 Mich.App. 213, 215-16, 247 N.W.2d 354, 355 (1976); Moskowitz v. Moskowitz, N.H. 385 A.2d 120, 122 (1978); Dunn v. Palermo, 522 S.W.2d 679, 682-83 79*79 (Tenn.1975); Kruzel v. Podell, 67 Wis.2d 138, 151, 226 N.W.2d 458, 463-64 (1975). This court has held that Rhode Island has adopted the common law to the extent that it remains applicable in given circumstances. Benevides v. Kelly, 90 R.I. 310, 312-13, 316, 157 A.2d 821, 822, 824 (1960). The common law governs the rights and obligations of citizens in Rhode Island unless that law has been modified by the General Assembly.
In applying this rule to our general name-change statute, § 8-9-9, we note that the General Assembly has not indicated an intent to modify the common law. We therefore hold that § 8-9-9 is an optional method that may be employed to change one's name.