Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Constitution: Article I: The Citizen

Preamble
Article I: The Citizen

Definition of Citizenship

§1 An individual is a citizen of the Nation if he or she was born in the geographical territory of the Nation, was a resident of the territory at the time of adoption of this Constitution, has a natural parent who is a citizen, has been adopted as a minor child by a citizen. A person may become a naturalized citizen if he or she is of the age of majority, is within or enters the geographical territory of the Nation with the intention of permanent residency, can fulfill the obligations of citizenship, and agrees without coercion to abide by those obligations.

Economic Rights and Obligations

§2 Each citizen is entitled without precondition to the economic necessities of a dignified life: food, shelter, clothing. Health being a public good, each citizen is entitled to the equal opportunity to receive medical treatment necessary for life, freedom from pain and suffering, and good health. Education being a public good, each citizen is entitled to he equal opportunity to receive such education that they may successfully acquire.

§3 As each citizen is entitled to the economic necessities of a dignified life, each citizen is obligated work as many hours of labor as necessary on average to provide those necessities, or to pay taxes of at least the median wage times that number of hours. Only provable medical necessity may exempt a citizen from this obligation.

Inalienable Rights

§4 Each citizen has the inalienable right to freedom of speech, of the press, and of peaceable assembly, so long as the exercise of these rights do not foreseeably threaten immediate and proximate harm to the life or health of any person, so long as the exercise of those rights do not immediately and unavoidably comprise the quiet enjoyment of any individual, and so long as falsehood does not foreseeably threaten immediate harm to the reputation of any person. Each citizen has the inalienable right to listen to, read and examine any speech or writing as he or she sees fit. Each citizen has the inalienable right to hold any religious belief, or no religious belief at all, and may exercise and act upon such belief so long as such exercise does not violate any secular law or provision of this Constitution.

§5 Each citizen has the inalienable right to speak and read any language of his or her choice, and to have any laws, acts or proceedings of the government translated to that language at public expense.

§6 Every citizen has the inalienable right to mutually consensual sexual activity, and the right with mutual consent to marry any person or persons of of his or her choice and enjoy the companionship of that marriage. Each citizen has the inalienable right to reproduce, to bear or father children, if he or she is physically capable of reproduction.

Rights Alienable by Due Process of Law

§7 Each citizen of the age of majority has the right to participate in the democratic process as described in Article II unless found unable to participate by due process of law based only on medical inability to exercise that right to his or her own benefit.

§8 Unless deprived by due process of law, each citizen has the right to reside or move freely anywhere within the geographical territory of the Nation. Unless deprived of freedom of movement by due process of law for a felony, any person, citizen or non-citizen, may leave the geographical territory and jurisdiction of the Nation at any time.

§9 Unless deprived by due process of law, each citizen has the right to own personal property necessary for the efficient and comfortable conduct of his or her daily life.

§10 Unless mandated by due process of law for crimes committed within the jurisdiction of the Nation, or crimes committed against a citizen of the Nation, no person may be compelled to or prohibited from entering the geographical territory or jurisdiction of the Nation.

§11 Unless deprived by due process of law, warrant specifying probable cause, or the reasonable suspicion of immediate and proximate danger to the life or health of any person, every citizen has the right to the privacy and security of his or her dwelling, personal effects, and information reasonably and broadly considered private.

§12 Unless deprived by due process of law, every citizen has the right and obligation to bear arms under military or police discipline for the defense of the Nation or security of the community. Any person who by reason of conscience refuses to bear arms under any circumstances is obligated to serve in a manner acceptable to his or her conscience. It is an affirmative defense that the specific or general fulfillment of this obligation would cause harm to any person or persons that would outweigh the value of the defense of the Nation or the security of the community.

§13 Unless deprived by due process of law, every citizen has the right to engage in profitable Private Enterprise as set out in Article II of this Constitution.

8 comments:

  1. "Each citizen has the inalienable right to listen to, read and examine any speech or writing as he or she sees fit."

    I wonder if this provision should be expanded to make clear that there is no such thing as a state secret. I would want complete transparency. If the government does it, it is public domain and everyone gets to know about it. Conversely, if an individual does something and wants to keep it private, the government may not know about it.

    Right now, we have the perverse situation where the public government is allowed to keep EVERYTHING secret, and individuals are an open book to the government (illegal wiretaps, etc.) That must end.

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  2. I wonder if this provision should be expanded to make clear that there is no such thing as a state secret.

    It should be, and I'll do so in Article II, The Government.

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  3. Also, DBB, I'd very much appreciate it if you put a "lawyers eye" toward this document, and let me know if you spot any holes that a clever advocate could use against the common good.

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  4. Another idea is the catch-all to make clear that rights don't need to be explicitly mentioned in the constitution - We TRIED to have that in our current bill of rights, but courts generally pretend that we don't (see 9th Amendment).

    I like the idea that, unless the Constitution specifically says the government can limit a certain activity, then it is a right that cannot be limited in any way. Conversely, if the Constitution does not explicitly grant the government the power to do something, it is forbidden for the government to do it.

    I don't trust anyone with power.

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  5. I'd be happy to do so. (lend a lawyer's eye). I have plenty of beefs with the current constitution and also how it has been interpreted (and in some ways twisted).

    In Michigan, under our Constitution, it comes up for a possible Constitutional Convention every so often (I think 18 years?) - it was on the ballot this year. I voted it down, because in the current climate, I could imagine it would only get worse. A Constitution written in the age of Fox NEws and the Tea Party would be a scary thing indeed. I don't think we'll get a better document than we got in 1963, the height of liberal power.

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  6. I don't trust anyone with power.

    Me neither. I don't even trust the individual with power. But power exists, so long as we can do violence to each other. So the best we can do is try to manage it and make sure it's used for the common good.

    Another idea is the catch-all to make clear that rights don't need to be explicitly mentioned in the constitution.

    I'm aware of this provision. The catch-all hasn't really worked well in the past; I think more explicit limitations on the Government would be more effective.

    A Constitution written in the age of Fox NEws and the Tea Party would be a scary thing indeed.

    Indeed: We need a new Constitution only in times of extreme crisis. We are not there... at least not quite yet.

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  7. So when will I get to see more? (And I'll be taking another look at what you have - I have been busy/lazy of late).

    You are right, the catch-all doesn't work because it is ignored. My thought on that is that you are right, we need specifics, but one should also include the catch-all anyway. Perhaps a catch-all with some teeth.

    Off the top of my head, the teeth for a catch-all could include language that any constitutional rights analysis under this constitution MUST include a detailed analysis of the catch-all, or else any attempt to abridge a claimed right is presumptively invalid. Or sometihng like that. Something you can shove down the throat of anyone who tries to pretend the catch-all isn't in there.

    Another thought as you work on it - make sure rights include remedies. There are many "rights without a remedy" in the law. Like for the equivalent of a 4th amendment search and seizure - make clear that such things cannot be done by the government, period. And if they are done, anything taken cannot be used as evidence in court, period. No exceptions. The 4th amendment is basically a dead letter now because of the exceptions. Probably a better explanation than that is needed, but the hour is late.

    ReplyDelete

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