On the status of the republic
|Release type||Order of the General Secretary on the constitution|
|Writer||Amelia Bjornsdottir (she, they, he)|
|Written beginning||hours before Fri 3 Mar 2023 02:56:18 UTC|
|Partial rewrite||Sun Aug 27 06:49:16 UTC 2023|
|Release date||After 27 Aug 2023|
This document is still under construction. Notably, whole sections are completely absent. At this stage, this constitution is binding on Evdonia. Where this constitution is silent, the first constitution from early 2022 shall be referred to. Where it is silent, statute law, common law and conscionability reign.
On the structure of this document
This document is informally separated into sections and subsections.
Interpretation notes are binding upon justices.
A person or subject can mean a non-person who others recognize as a person, such as a hyper-intelligent crustacean or a sapient robot.
IETF RFC 2119 applies
The key words “MUST”, “MUST NOT”, “REQUIRED”, “SHALL”, “SHALL NOT”, “SHOULD”, “SHOULD NOT”, “RECOMMENDED”, “MAY”, and “OPTIONAL” in this document are to be interpreted as described in IETF RFC 2119 and IETF RFC 8174.
On the structure of the state
The republic of Evdonia mixes features of both unitary and federal states, and when population is sufficient for there to be a difference, features of both executive and parliamentary systems of government.
For each constituent state, including the federal state, this document authorizes:
- the raising of an electoral grand jury, whose members are either the entire reachable population of the state if under 1'500 people, or up to 1'000 people, having reached at least their fourteenth year, selected by random sortition, and whose purpose is to deliberate on the method of electing holders of positions set out forthwith, and who SHALL have the right to exclude themselves if they should desire,
- the creation of a legislative assembly, whose name SHALL be deliberated upon and decided by said assembly, and changed from time to time by the passage of a law, but will be called Parliament in this document, and will initially have one chamber,
- the election, by processes resolved by electoral grand jury, of an executive council of not fewer than one person and not more than six people, which limit may be changed by a resolution of the electoral grand jury, which council SHALL in this document be called the Secretariat-General and whose members SHALL be individually referred to as Presidents or Secretaries-General, and which council MAY retain its own advisors (which shall be called a Presidential Cabinet in this document),
- the selection, by the legislative assembly, by simple majority vote, of a subset of its members to act as representatives to executive council on broad bases of issues as decided by the legislative assembly, which subset SHALL be called the Cabinet (or Parliamentary Cabinet) in this document, and
- the election, by processes resolved by electoral grand jury, of a justice or set of justices to a chamber of decision as to the truth and falsehood of a legal allegation, whose name SHALL be deliberated on and decided by Parliament, but will be called the High Court of Justice in this document.
- until such time as the electoral grand jury may nominate methods (which it is under no obligation to do), provisional methods for effecting election.
Semi-executivism and responsible government
The Cabinet or any individual member MAY be recalled by Parliament at any time. The Secretariat-General MAY also recommend recall of the Cabinet or any Cabinet member to Parliament, which MUST then decide, by procedures it may set, whether it wishes to continue the Cabinet member, or recall. If this procedure fails three times for the same member (a decision is not rendered within 60 days, or at the earliest practical time after parliament begins to sit if it has not been sitting at the time of the recommendation (a recommendation requires parliament to reconvene)), with less than 360 days from the first procedure to the last, the Cabinet member SHALL be deemed recalled, and SHALL NOT become a member of the Cabinet under that Secretariat-General again for 180 days, unless the impeachment procedure is followed for the deemed recall (in which case the recall is reversed as if it never happened) or the Cabinet member (in which case their ban may be elongated by decision of electoral grand jury).
Parliament SHALL have the power to create, debate on, and by over 50% of the sitting vote (or by committee) recommend bills to the Secretariat-General, which if given the assent of over 50% of the members of the Secretariat-General, become statute. Parliament MAY impeach the refusal of assent. If convicted and not later reversed by electoral grand jury, the refusal is overturned (and the bill becomes law) regardless of later electoral grand jury sentencing decisions. The same procedure may be executed to pass both ordinary statutes and entrenched law by the electoral grand jury.
Impeachment and conviction is the process of reversing a decision made by another body, or an appointment made to another body (all elections are appointments by the electoral grand jury). Parliament and the electoral grand jury exercise this power.
Parliament MAY impeach any member of the Secretariat-General, and MAY also impeach any decision of the Secretariat-General. Electoral grand jury MAY impeach the entire Parliament, and it may reverse a conviction on impeachment which was made by Parliament.
Only persons who have ever been members of Parliament, the Secretariat-General, the High Court of Justice or its subordinate chambers of justice, the Cabinet, or offices directly appointed by those bodies may be subject to impeachment. If a person is convicted, the only possible penalties are censure, removal, and ineligibility for membership in the relevant body or in all said bodies. The person remains eligible for electoral grand jury duty.
Only decisions made by the Secretariat-General, the Cabinet, offices directly appointed by those two, or the boards of companies owned by the state may be impeached. On conviction of the decision, the decision is reversed. Further treatment of it necessitates summoning an electoral grand jury.
With a single-chambered Parliament, the decision to impeach is taken by a simple majority (over 50% vote) of the whole body, and the decision to convict is taken by a supermajority (seven tenths) of the whole body. The electoral grand jury MUST then immediately be summoned to either sustain or reverse the conviction and sustain, reverse or amend the sentence. With a multiple-chambered Parliament, the decision to impeach is taken by a simple majority of any one body, and the decision to convict is taken by every remaining body (the impeachment decision itself is treated as a vote to convict) in turn as decided among them for the normal course of business, requiring a 51% majority of chambers to secure a conviction.
An impeached and convicted person’s actions while in office remain valid as if they were succeeded in the normal way, but impeached actions are invalidated, and must be reversed to the extent that this is possible.
An organ of the republic or of any member state SHALL NOT implement the imposition of death as a criminal penalty, and capture is to be preferred to killing during military conflicts.
Loss of confidence
If the Secretariat-General loses confidence in the Parliament’s Cabinet, deemed recall MAY be applied. If the Parliament loses confidence in its Cabinet, they may recall Cabinet in the normal way. If Parliament cannot function (marked by complete Parliamentary Cabinet vacancy for 90 days without an extension granted by the Secretariat-General, or by a failure to appropriate funds necessitating Secretarial appropriations), or by simple majority vote, all seats in Parliament are rendered vacant, requiring them to be filled by election from their relevant constituencies (as electoral grand jury prescribes). If everyone loses their seats, and there is no way of electing new members to the Secretariat, Parliament, or Cabinet, an electoral grand jury must be empanelled by the civil servants and the erstwhile members of those bodies SHALL become acting members until their replacements are selected.
If Parliament loses confidence in the Presidential Cabinet, it may impeach the appointments, or it may impeach the appointees themselves. It may also recall them by the same procedure as recalling its own Cabinet.
Executive powers of legislation
This may be cited as the Administrative State section, as it is intended to ensure the efficient functioning of the administrative state and avoid authorized government agencies being deprived of funds due to senseless Acts of Parliament. Experience internationally has shown that presidential systems are vulnerable to these kinds of attempts to paralyze the administrative state.
As well as any powers delegated to it by the electoral grand jury or by Parliament, the Secretariat-General and the Presidential Cabinet have the general right to make and apply laws and make appropriations of wealth (such as borrowing money or adjusting the rate of taxation, should it ever be imposed) to ensure the faithful execution of the constitutional and ordinary laws of the republic or the member state in question, which right Parliament may not unduly abridge. Upon the passage of a Secretarial law (a decree), the decree must become part of Parliament’s business in no more than 30 days, or, in the absence of a procedure previously defined by the electoral grand jury for summoning a new Parliament, an electoral grand jury must be empanelled (for example, to un-dissolve Parliament if it has dissolved itself) if Parliament isn’t in session. Decrees will also be immediately presented to the High Court of Justice to assess their legality in accordance with stipulations in this section and others. The Secretariat-General and Presidential Cabinet SHALL NOT make new laws that contravene existing ordinary laws, nor new laws that have no connection or only an extremely indirect connection to existing laws.
This power shall be construed narrowly (only laws that directly follow from the implementation of the latest law from Parliament or the jury).
The two cabinets
The Secretariat-General has advisors, whereas Parliament sends ministers. Their purpose is the same - represent the appointing party’s views in the departments of state that they head, and power rests with both. These SHOULD usually be congruent. When a Parliamentary portfolio is vacant, other ministers appointed by Parliament serve to represent that portfolio. When the entire Parliamentary cabinet is vacant, the Presidential Cabinet (that appointed by the Secretariat-General) assumes the portfolios for the time being until a Parliamentary cabinet can be appointed, and vice versa.
A unitary republic
Constituent jurisdictions may be created or destroyed by ordinary law of the federal state or of a member state.
A federal republic
Constituent jurisdictions may be created and entrenched by act of electoral grand jury, meaning that they can only be destroyed (e.g. severed, absorbed) by treaty between them and their superior jurisdictions, which treaty must be approved by electoral grand jury, which must be empanelled if such a treaty is signed.
The creating jurisdiction’s electoral grand jury may delegate its powers in this regard, allowing the creating jurisdiction’s Parliament to use an ordinary law to entrench a jurisdiction. Once entrenched, ordinary law alone SHALL NOT be able to destroy a constituent jurisdiction.
The powers of the constituent jurisdiction, when so entrenched, become separate from the powers of the superior jurisdiction, which must itself be an entrenched jurisdiction.
Overlapping jurisdictions for different purposes
Limited-purpose jurisdictions may overlap with other limited-purpose jurisdictions. (Specifying this is probably not required.)
On obligations the state has to constituent states
The federal level has a responsibility to its constituent jurisdictions to guarantee to within the best of their ability the defence of said constituent jurisdictions.
On obligations the state has to its subjects
That without statute law, a common law must be furnished based on statute law prevailing by greater force, and on conscionability
A state SHALL, where statute law is lacking in a legal dispute, furnish a common law based on laws that prevail or once prevailed by tradition or greater force, and based on conscionability in accordance with this constitution.
Interpretation note: micronations are subject to force majeure from other states as well as from nature. This essentially downloads prevailing law into Evdonian law as a stopgap.
That subjects must be treated equally and equitably by the state, within the state’s power
A state SHALL NOT act or inact to favour or disfavour any religion, ethnicity, or sex or gender class over any other, unless such action is absolutely outside the republic/state’s power.
That subjects must be permitted private lives, which must remain inviolate
A state SHALL NOT act or inact such that a subject’s private life is violated. In the event that this provision conflicts with the other provisions, it is severed only to the minimal extent necessary to ensure the cessation of the violation.
Interpretation note: Inaction such that a subject’s privacy is violated may include failing to enforce against a stalker at common law, even though there is no statute law governing harrassment.
Interpretation note: Severance of this clause may look like authorizing the search of someone’s domicile to recover artefacts for use by places of judgement in rendering a finding that they are, in fact (beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt), doing something, after establishing that they are, at law, not permitted to do that thing. Off-target artefacts (proving or disproving an accusation not made) may not be recovered.
A state SHALL NOT act or inact such that a subject’s right to a whole and integral body and mind is violated.
Interpretation note: Action violating the right to a whole and integral body may look like making defilement of one’s body punishable. Whole and integral is to be judged by the subject, and what is a defilement to a lawgiver might be beautification to somebody else. The guiding principle here is “if it harms only the one who wills it, it harms nobody.”
Interpretation note: Inaction violating the right to a whole and integral body may include a form of action or inaction disfavouring a sex or gender class and action or inaction favouring a religious class.
Interpretation note: Action or inaction violating the right to a whole and integral body may include various things that generally fall under “what are healthcare?” Failing to enforce public health measures to the best of ability violates the right to a whole and integral body. Failing to prohibit unnecessary surgeries on people who cannot consent (with necessity being defined very strictly - such as preventing the spreading of an infection, ensuring the health of the neural tissue or other internal organs, or ensuring the health of the skeletal system or its equivalent (.. hyperintelligent crustaceans, or robots, could conceivably be subjects. Get over it.)) violates the right to a whole and integral body.
Non-binding writer’s note: This clause, and the previous interpretation note was informed by my “intactivist” (body autonomist) beliefs. The intactivist movement itself seems to be mostly-spurious and two steps away from committing bias against a religious class (to mind springs Jews, Samaritans, and Muslims) - which is not acceptable to me. Their practices, as far as they are compatible with the bodily and psychological autonomy of their members and of other subjects (such as the building, use and defence of places of worship, the dissemination of their texts, the free adherence to strictures and commandments that would be abhorrent if made law but do not violate other subjects' rights if practiced privately, and of factual information about doctrines and practices both locally and elsewhere) are to be expressly and vigorously condoned - express and vigorous condonation of the free exercise of religion, as part of avoiding unequal favour, will be the policy of the political party I lay foundation to upon the completion of this constitution.
That subjects must be apprised and kept up to date on state processes affecting them
A state SHALL ensure that subjects are comprehensively apprised of state affairs affecting them, even in cases where such apprisal may prejudice the process.
Interpretation note: Physical and technical controls used to secure the systems a state process is using need not be disclosed. That would be absurd. However, there can be no secret courts (known from international experience) - warrants must, as near as is practicable, be publishable, because a secret warrant could affect someone it is not disclosed to and that is not acceptable.
On obligations subjects have to other subjects
A lot of this is better expressed as statute law. Any one of the two (or n) subjects in a bipartite (or n-partite) clause may also be a nonsubject.
That subjects must not bring other subjects to harm through action or inaction
A subject SHALL NOT, through action or inaction, cause another subject to come to foreseeable and preventable harm. However, a subject SHALL NOT be liable for foreseeable and preventable harm done another if the subject inacted because, in their judgement, they were not competent in preventing the foreseeable harm, or could not have been aware of the harm, and they SHALL NOT be held liable for harm done another due to actions which were a good-faith attempt to prevent foreseeable and preventable harm. Treatment of implementation SHALL be by normal legislative means.
That subjects must not usure other subjects
In the commercial handling of things of value, a subject SHALL NOT lend to another subject on the condition of returning an unconscionably high surplus over what they lent. The definition of unconscionable surplus SHALL be set by normal legislative means. If not defined, an unconscionable surplus is more than 25% if extended over the year of a fungible good (such as money, or substantially-identical types of food), or any surplus where rendering such a surplus would require the borrowing subject to forego religious goods (such as computers containing records of personal, family or spiritual history) or the basic means of survival. Legislative definition SHALL NOT exceed these values.
For the avoidance of doubt, the extension of credit is lending.