"Discussion Version"

of the

Constitution of Jurlandia

Chapter II

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This "Discussion Version" contains hotlinks to the Explanatory Essay and other materials on this website and elsewhere.

This version breaks the document into five parts, corresponding to its five chapters.

Chapter I

 

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

 

CHAPTER TWO — LEGISLATIVE POWER

Article 1.

1. All legislative power in the Republic of Jurlandia shall be vested in the Parliament of Jurlandia, whose members shall be available to conduct the business of the Parliament as needed throughout each year. The Parliament shall determine its regular schedule of meetings from time to time; such schedules shall be published in timely manner. The Parliament may convene special or unscheduled meetings when appropriate. The President of Jurlandia may call an emergency meeting of the Parliament when necessary.

2. Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution, all decisions of the Parliament shall require the approval of a majority of a quorum.

Article 2.

1. The Parliament shall consist of 135 members chosen for terms of six years in general elections held in electoral districts that are fairly drawn and comprise approximately equal populations. Such general elections shall be held every two years, starting on the Sunday closest to the summer solstice of every even-numbered year, beginning in 2002; runoff rounds shall occur 14 days apart until all electoral contests have been completed. The Constitutional Court, serving pursuant to the prior Constitution, shall create electoral districts for the election of the first Parliament under this new Constitution; those districts shall be created within 30 days following the adoption of this Constitution. Thereafter, the Supreme Court, serving pursuant to this Constitution, shall create new electoral districts at least once every ten years — as population changes require — and shall otherwise ensure that all elections for all purposes reflect fair and equal representation for all.

2. At each general election, one third of the members of the Parliament shall be subject to reelection. The first Parliament, elected pursuant to I-4-3 of this Constitution, shall choose by random processes those districts whose members will initially serve until the general elections of 2002, 2004, and 2006. A new Parliament shall be composed, with newly-elected members, at noon, September 1, of every even-numbered year. The first Parliament under this Constitution shall take office immediately upon its election.

3. In the event of the resignation, death, or incapacity of a Parliament member, any remainder of that member's term shall be filled in the next general election. The Parliament shall be the judge of whether a member is capable of serving in the Parliament.

4. Any citizen aged 25 or older may be elected to the Parliament. A candidate for such election must have resided in the district that he or she will represent for at least two years prior to the election. No person may serve as a member of the Parliament for more than three consecutive terms. The Parliament shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members. However, nothing herein shall be construed to limit the power of the Supreme Court to interpret this Constitution and the law.

5. Service in the Parliament shall be remunerated, including allowances for reasonable expenses. Such remuneration shall not be reduced during a member's term of office. No legislation increasing such remuneration shall become effective until after the next general election. No Parliament member may receive remuneration from any person or party other than the Republic of Jurlandia for services rendered, including votes and expressions of opinions, in connection with membership in the Parliament. Records of all political contributions to each member of the Parliament shall be kept for public inspection, and the aggregate of all contributions from any single source in any calendar year may not exceed the recipient's monthly salary as a Parliament member. Political contributions shall not be or become the property of any person, but may be transferred by recipients to bona fide political parties or to charitable institutions.

Article 3.

1. The Parliament shall enact such legislation as it deems necessary or appropriate to effectuate and enforce the provisions of this Constitution, to raise or lower state revenues by taxation or otherwise, to incur or satisfy state obligations, to buy, sell, or otherwise dispose of state property, to secure or improve the health, safety, and general welfare of the people of Jurlandia, and to advance Jurlandia's interests in the world. Nothing herein shall derogate from the President's powers in the conduct of foreign relations. However, the Parliament shall enact legislation governing the power of the President to declare war or to declare a state of emergency.

2. The Parliament's power shall include the power to establish administrative bodies to accomplish any legislative purpose, and to empower them to establish regulations consistent with the responsibilities entrusted to them by the Parliament. Such grants of power to administrative bodies must, however, provide sufficient specificity so that the administrative body, its officers, all persons affected by its decisions, and the Judicial Branch may determine the legislative purpose and the scope of such administrative powers. The President of Jurlandia shall be ultimately responsible for enforcing or administering all such legislation and regulations, and the Supreme Court of Jurlandia shall be ultimately responsible for determining their scope, meaning, implications, and constitutionality, including the constitutionality of their application in particular cases brought before it.

3. The Parliament shall also enact legislation that empowers local governments to adopt ordinances for the administration of regional, municipal, and local affairs. Such legislation shall specify the purpose and scope of such ordinances, and shall specify the person or persons responsible for their administration and enforcement. The people hereby encourage local autonomy, but instruct all local officials to honor their obligations under this Constitution and the laws of the Republic. The chief executive officer of every local government shall designate a place close to his or her office where a copy of this Constitution shall be kept for public perusal during ordinary working hours.

4. The people intend by this Constitution that, as this Constitution shall be superior to all legislation, so all legislation shall be superior to all regulations and ordinances; where any legislation contemplates elaboration by subsequent regulations or ordinances, or any other action taken under color of law, that legislation shall provide sufficient principles and standards to guide and control such elaboration or action. Administrative discretion must be exercised according to the legislation empowering it, and must above all be constitutional in its application in particular instances.

Article 4.

1. During its first three years, and with all deliberate speed, the Parliament shall enact new legislation embracing at least the following subjects:

(1) Criminal law and corrections

(2) Criminal procedure

(3) Civil procedure

(4) Administrative procedure

(5) Appellate procedure

(6) Personal property, secured interests, and future interests

(7) Intellectual property and security of information

(8) Real property, leases, rents, and conveyances

(9) Contracts, agency, and free-market rights and obligations

(10) Torts and compensation for negligent, reckless, or deliberate harms

(11) Domestic relations, families, and juvenile delinquency

(12) Corporations and other business and professional enterprises

(13) Non-profit enterprises, churches, and charities

(14) Labor unions and collective bargaining

(15) Income, gift, estate, and other taxation

(16) Commercial and private insurance

(17) Currency, credit, banking, negotiable instruments, and securities

(18) Health, housing, and social welfare

(19) Education and employment

(20) Professional certification

(21) Local government

(22) Civil service

(23) Military, police, and security services

(24) Customs and border control

(25) Immigration and naturalization

(26) Public utilities and environmental protection

(27) Elections and democratic participation

2. By this provision, the people instruct the Parliament that they desire and intend that the Republic of Jurlandia shall become a modern state whose inhabitants may deal with each other and with the world in a normal way, according to civilized norms of individual freedom and accountability. Accordingly, the people instruct the Parliament to enact modern legislation covering at least the aforementioned subjects, so that Jurlandia may quickly become integrated into the life, culture, and commerce of the world community of free nations.

3. Such legislation shall be based on the best models of advanced constitutional democracies and shall thereafter be reformed and updated as circumstances and experience warrant. The Parliament shall establish a Commission on Law Reform, and shall consult recognized world experts, in order to accomplish a swift, responsible, and enduring transition to a law-based state that meets international standards. The Commission shall also advise the Parliament as to the constitutionality of any proposed legislation, the consistency of proposed legislation with legislation already enacted pursuant to this Constitution, and the clarity and accuracy of terminology employed in proposed legislation. The Commission shall be answerable to the Parliament, and shall have professional and support staff as needed.

4. The people hereby explicitly acknowledge that a long era of totalitarianism has terribly impaired Jurlandia's "legal culture" — its laws, its legislative competence, its legal profession, and its judiciary — and the people therefore assert their determination to remedy this tragic situation by resolutely rejecting all remnants of their lawless past and adopting a government under law according to the principles and standards of advanced constitutional democracies. The people here condemn a totalitarian system, not those who had to live under it. This provision shall be interpreted in that light.

Article 5.

The Parliament is empowered to adopt such rules for its work and proceedings as it deems appropriate, and to employ professional and support staff as necessary to ensure its efficient and effective operations.

Article 6.

The Parliament is empowered to compel the attendance of absent members and to provide such penalties as necessary to ensure its orderly proceedings. Two-thirds of the Parliament members shall constitute a quorum. No vote of the Parliament shall have legal effect unless the total of yes and no votes comprises a quorum.

Article 7.

While serving the Parliament, members shall not be compelled to answer questions outside the Parliament regarding words spoken and opinions expressed therein.

Article 8.

1. All schedules and proceedings of the Parliament shall be public, except in cases where the national security or compelling interests in legitimate personal privacy require secrecy. The Parliament may not withhold information from the Supreme Court in cases where that Court is determining whether such secrecy is constitutional.

2. The Parliament shall keep and publish an official record of its non-secret proceedings. Whenever one-fifth of the Parliament so requests, each member's vote — or abstention — shall be recorded therein.

3. The people intend by this provision to ensure that, within reason and good taste, the public's business shall be conducted in public. Nothing herein shall be construed to require that a public record of all committee and subcommittee proceedings be kept, except to the extent that such records might reasonably serve a legitimate public purpose, including assistance in interpreting the meaning of legislation subsequently enacted by the Parliament.

Article 9.

1. The Parliament shall establish and maintain the Office of State Comptroller to provide budgetary information and oversight on all matters within the jurisdiction of the Parliament. The Comptroller shall be chosen by the Parliament, and shall serve for a single term of seven years. The agreement of 90 members of the Parliament shall be necessary for the Comptroller's removal from office. The Comptroller may employ such professional and support staff as authorized by the Parliament.

2. The Comptroller and the Finance Minister shall endeavor to cooperate in providing timely draft budgets and other information and proposals to aid the Parliament and the President to fulfill their respective responsibilities towards the state Budget.

3. The Budget shall have the constitutional status of legislation. However, if the Parliament and the President cannot agree thereon before the expiration of the current fiscal year, then the President, the Comptroller, and the Chief Judge of Jurlandia shall establish the new Budget, each casting one vote on all disputed matters.

Article 10.

1. The Parliament shall maintain permanent committees paralleling the subject areas of each cabinet ministry. The chairman of each such committee and the Minister responsible for that committee's subject area shall endeavor to cooperate in providing timely information and proposals to each respective committee. Each committee may compel the Minister responsible for its subject area to provide documents, testimony, and other information necessary to its legislative responsibilities, but this power shall be balanced with the privileges of the Executive Branch to withhold information as needed to preserve its constitutional prerogatives.

2. The chairmen of each such committee shall together constitute the Executive Committee of the Parliament. Any dispute between any such committee and the Minister responsible for that committee's subject area, or any other dispute involving alleged conflicts between the Legislative and the Executive Branches, shall with the consent of the Executive Committee be brought forthwith before the Supreme Court of Jurlandia for its expedited review and decision.

Article 11.

All other committees of the Parliament shall be subcommittees of the permanent committees or of the Executive Committee of the Parliament, and shall be answerable to them. No such subcommittees of the Parliament shall be empowered to compel testimony or the production of documents and other information.

Article 12.

1. Members of the Cabinet, judges of the Regional Appeals Courts and the Supreme Court, the Vice President, and the President of the Republic shall be subject to impeachment and removal from office by the Parliament. An impeachment may be initiated by no fewer than five members of the Parliament.

2. In all cases of impeachment, the Parliament shall choose, from among those members serving the final two years of their current term, nine members to serve as the "impeachment prosecutors" and, if necessary, nine other members to serve as the "impeachment court." These eighteen shall continue to serve in those respective roles, even if not reelected to the Parliament, until the conclusion of their responsibilities hereunder. At least five of the "impeachment prosecutors" must vote to approve bringing any person before the "impeachment court." A conviction by that court requires at least six affirming votes.

3. In the event of such conviction, all members of the Parliament currently in office shall thereupon constitute the "impeachment appeal court." In cases involving cabinet members, appellate judges, and the Vice President, ratification by 68 members of the Parliament is necessary in order to uphold the conviction; in cases involving Supreme Court judges, such ratification requires approval of 90 members; and in the case of the President, such ratification requires approval of 102 members.

4. In all impeachment proceedings, all votes shall be recorded and published in the official record.

5. No person may be impeached except for treason, serious crimes, or gross dereliction of duty that manifestly harms the state. Upon impeachment, conviction, and ratification thereof by the Parliament, the officer in question shall no longer hold that office.

6. The people here intend to establish a necessary element of the checks and balances among the three coordinate branches ordained by this Constitution. Impeachment is an extraordinary constitutional remedy, which the people instruct the Parliament never to abuse for merely political ends or as punishment for merely unpopular decisions. The people remind their Parliament, as they remind themselves: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

See single-document versons of the Constitution of Jurlandia in English and Russian

English copyrights 1991-1999 by Barnabas D. Johnson

Russian version copyrights 1991-1999 by Lowry Wyman

Armenian copyright 2001 by Barnabas D. Johnson

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