Constitution of Varnia

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The Constitution of Varnia refers to the document, amendments and convention which forms the supreme law in Varnia. The first constitution was drafted during the Varnian Revolution to establish a constitutional monarchy and subsequently several modified constitutions were drafted as the revolution moved wards a republican government. The First Varnian Republic was formed in 1809, with an expensive, multi-document constitution, referred to as the Constitution of 1809. This remained in force until the current constitution was ratified in 1851, after the Federalist Movement succeeded in unifying all the Varnian territories into the modern day Second Republic.

The constitution is laid out in ten articles, which build the framework of Varnian federalist government. The Articles One, Two, Three and Four deal with establishing the federal government and laying out its branches, defining the basic form and powers of each branch: the National Conference first, then The Directory and, finally, the federal judiciary. Article Five deals with the concept of federalism, enshrining the basic division of powers and responsibilities and establishing rules for the interplay between states and between the states and federal government. Article Six enumerates individual rights enjoyed by all citizens, while Article Seven deals with the associations that form the basis for Varnian politics. Article Eight sets down some general legal concepts that govern the policies of the state, Article Nine deals with the processes for amending the constitution and Article Ten lays out the process for ratification of the new constitution and how the new order will be implemented. Each article is divided into sections, which are then further divided into clauses.

Background

First republic

  • Unitary state
  • Revolutionary wars
  • Sister republics
  • Interventions in sister republics
  • Spread of tyranny

Federalism

  • Unification of all Varnians
  • Federalist war

Constitutional Convention of 1849

  • New constitution
  • Drafting
  • Speeches
  • Muh pamphleteering
  • Ratification

Constitutional Frame

The constitution, as drafted, had no preamble or introduction, opting instead for a purely legal document. Many of the constitutional framers who partook in the constitutional convention were later critical of the lack of a preamble and many of them later published their thoughts on the background for the constitution. No consensus emerged around a suitable preamble, and as such the official document does not include one. It is simply titled "A Constitution for a Federalist Varnia".

Article One

Article One, commonly called the establishment article, lays out the purpose of the new federalist order, describes the composition and organization of the federal state and then lays out authorities to establish the different branches of the government. Section One defines the purpose of the government, requiring it to "ensure an orderly union of the Varnian States", "defend the rights of the citizen" and "ensure justice and liberty". Section Two lays out the different types of states in the union, establishing them as equal in the eyes of the federal order and declares that "the principles of federalism must guide the branches of government". Section Three declares that the federal government shall be "directorial and deliberative in nature", and Section Four dictates the establishment of a judicial system in which "all citizens are equal before the law". Section Four also demands that "the federal body of law must be freely available to all its subjects".

Article Two

Article Two deals with the National Conference, the legislative body in the federal government. Section One establishes the name National Conference, and references Article One, Section Three to declare it to be the deliberative body of the federal government. It further goes on to say "the National Conference shall be assembled from Delegates of the professions". Section Two deals with the size of the National Conference and the apportionment of the delegates amongst both the states and each profession. Section Three lays out the qualifications required to be named a delegate, such as age, professional accreditation and character. Section Four dictates that the National Conference shall be held every six years and lays out rules for the convening of both these ordinary sessions, and the procedure for calling an extraordinary session. Section Five establishes that the Delegates will decide the rules and procedures of each Conference, and requires such rules, as well as a journal of the proceedings, to be published. Section Six lays out the requirements for legislation, while Section Seven lists the specific enumerated powers of the conference. Section Eight defines certain acts which the Conference may not take.

Article Three

Article Three deals with The Directory, the executive branch of the federal government. Section One names the Directory as the embodiment of the directorial form of government referenced in Article One, Section Three, defines it as a body of eight persons and enumerates the qualifications required for appointed directors, such as age, eligibility to be delegates to the national conference, and "good moral character and sound mental faculties". It goes on to name the procedure for appointing directors in the National Conference, limiting banning more than three consecutive terms, and vesting the directors with the duty of directing the federal administration. Section Two names the specific powers of The Directory, lays out the deliberative manner in which decisions must be reached and establishes the position of First Director. Section Three states that The Directory is "subject to the laws and customs" enshrined in the Constitution and lays out certain responsibilities of The Directory, such as attending the National Conference, answering judicial summons and heeding the Constitution.

Article Four

Article Four deals with the federal judiciary branch. Section One vests the judicial power in one "first Court" and inferior courts. It grants the National Conference the power to create these inferior courts of "law and equity". Section Two deals with the appointment, qualifications and tenure of federal justices, vesting the power to name federal judges in the National Conference and declares that all federal justices are appointed for life as long as they remain of "good character". Section Three defines the scope of judicial power. It bans the hearing of hypothetical cases, and limits the federal judiciary's jurisdiction to cases which cross state boundaries, cases that involve the federal government, cases brought against a state by a citizen of a different state, cases between citizens of different states and any case involving foreign parties. It also requires the National Conference to determine the ways in which cases are to be brought before the first court, except in cases affecting accredited foreign diplomats and cases challenging state constitutions under the federal constitution. It further declares that all criminal trials shall be by a jury of one's peers, declaring that professionals will be judged by other professionals and non-professionals by non-professionals. It also requires trails to be held within the state where the crime was committed, and allows the National Conference to set rules for trials for crimes within multiple states or outside any state. Section Four establishes the principle of judicial review, allowing the federal courts to review and overturn federal law that violates the constitution.

Article Five

Article Five establishes the nature of the relationship between states and between the state and the federal government. Section One introduces the concept of "judicial universalism", declaring that federal law cannot vary from state to state and that states cannot establish laws that apply to jurisdictions outside that state. It also says that the National Conference shall establish the manner in which state acts, records and proceedings translate across state borders by law, and finally says that all states must adhere to the principle of constitutionalism by having a written supreme law. Section Two bans the states from limiting federal individual rights. Section Three establishes the procedures for creating or admitting new states, while Section Four establishes that federal property within the states will be exclusively within the jurisdiction of federal law and allows the federal government to expropriate private and state property for the "common good, in accordance with this Constitution". Section Five establishes the obligations of the federal government to the states, principally to provide for the common defense of all the states, protecting the rule of law within all the states and the rights of citizens of all states.

Article Six

Article Six establishes the federal rights and freedoms enjoyed by all citizens. Section One protects what is referred to as "intellectual Freedoms", protecting the freedoms of speech, publication, religion, assembly and to petition the government for redress if rights are violated. Section Two establishes the "rights of due process", protecting citizens against warrantless searches and the seizure of property or incarceration without judicial review. It also gives citizens the right to refuse to incriminate themselves, and lays out the process by which a fair trial must happen, starting with an indictment on specific charges measured against federal law, and guarantees the right to be informed of charges, to face one's accuser, to confront witnesses against you and to compel the appearance of witnesses for the defendant and the right to be assisted by competent legal counsel. It also bans the use of monetary bail while awaiting trial. Section Three establishes the right to seek redress for injustices from other citizens or legal entities and trial by jury in such cases. It also restricts judges from overturning the finding of facts by juries. Section Four establishes the constitutionality of capital punishment and requires that such sentences be given unanimously by a jury. It also protects against being retried for the same capital offence multiple times and guarantees the right to have counsel that is familiar with capital cases. Section Five establishes the right to enjoy private property without interference from both state and federal governments. Section Six establishes the optional referendum, the right to propose legislation and seek its passage by simple majority of eligible citizens, subject to "reasonable procedures" established by the National Conference.

Article Seven

Article Seven deals with the professional associations. Section One defines what a professional association is and names the original four associations. Section Two lays out the requirements to be considered a member of a professional association and Section Three lays out requirements for the governance of associations. Section Four deals with the procedure for establishing new associations.

Article Eight

Article Eight is a procedural article. Section One establishes the Constitution and federal law and conventions arising from it, as the supreme law in all jurisdictions. Section Two states that no government official may be appointed on any basis but merit. Section Three requires all federal government officials to swear an oath upon assuming their office and establishes the basic principles to be included in such oaths. Section Four establishes who shall sign the constitution (all delegates to the Constitutional Convention) and the manner in which their signatures will be verified (signed statements by all three secretaries of the convention).

Article Nine

Article Nine deals with amendment of the constitution. Section One is a general statement of the need for the constitution to be fluid and adaptable to the needs of the republic. Section Two lays out ways in which amendments can be proposed, either by three consecutive directories, by a two-thirds majority vote in the National Conference or by public initiative. Section Three requires that proposals be ratified by the states before being included in the constitution, requiring two of the three founding states and an overall majority of the total number of states to approve the amendment. Section Four also requires a mandatory referendum of all eligible citizens to amend Article Six.

Article Ten

Article Ten deals with the implementation of the constitution in the immediate aftermath of the convention. Section One lays out the process by which the constitution will be ratified by the three founding states. Section Two sets out the process for assembling the first National Conference. Section Three allows the constitutional convention delegates to exercise the powers of the National Conference until the first National Conference is assembled and to appoint a temporary directory until it is. Section Four sets a four year deadline for ratification and implementation, requiring the first National Conference to convene and appoint a directory before then.

Amendments

Review

Judicial review

Public review