The Constitution of the Federated States of Antarctica is the supreme law of the Federation. It is the framework for the organization of the Federation government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the Federation.
The first article of the Constitution establishes the inherent rights of the people. It includes freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to bear arms, rights of the accused, and other basic rights.
The second article defines the Senate (the legislative branch). The third article defines the executive branch. The fourth article defines the judicial branch.
The remaining articles address elections, state and local governments, state corporations, apportionment, taxation, initiative, referendum, recall, and provisions to amend the Constitution.
The Preamble defines the basic objectives of the Constitution:
We the People of Antarctica, in order to secure and transmit to succeeding generations our heritage of political, civil, and personal liberty, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense and the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Federated States of Antarctica.
Article I: Declaration of RightsEdit
The Declaration of Rights consists of 27 sections, each defining a specific right. Sections are grouped into types of rights:
First, Second, and Third Sections (Basic rights, source of government, civil rights)Edit
§ 1. Inherent Rights
This constitution is dedicated to the principles that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the rewards of their own industry; that all persons are equal and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law; and that all persons have corresponding obligations to the people and to the Federation.
§ 2. Source of Government
All political power is inherent in the people. All government originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the people as a whole.
§ 3. Civil Rights
No person is to be denied the enjoyment of any civil or political right because of race, color, sex, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or national origin. The Senate shall implement this section.
All people have an inherent, natural right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is the most basic right that all people have under the Constitution. The ultimate source of power in the Federation is the People. Government serves at the pleasure and will of the People. Finally, every right enumerated under the Constitution is to be honored without regard to race, color, sex, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or national origin.
Freedom of Conscience (Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Sections)Edit
This grouping contains the freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition.
The Fourth Section guarantees the freedom of religion, as well as freedom from religion. To achieve this end, government may not show deference to any religion, nor may it consider religious-based sentiments during the course of legislation or litigation. It also specifically states that there is to be a separation between church and state:
§ 4. Freedom of Religion
There shall be a separation between church and state. No law, policy, proclamation or other official action shall be made giving respect to, honoring, or favoring an establishment or doctrine of religion or faith, nor shall any law or policy prohibit the free exercise of religion.
The Fifth Section guarantees the freedom of expression, either in spoken, written, or symbolic form. It does, however, specifically exclude the spending of money from being considered an act of speech or expression. This is to prevent corporations, industries, special interests, and lobbyists from spending an unlimited amount of money on political campaigns and candidates and thus unfairly manipulating the democratic process.
§ 5. Freedom of Expression
Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects in either words or symbolism, being responsible for the abuse of that right. The spending of capital shall not be considered an act of expression for purposes of this article.
The term "Fifth Section" is used as a synonym for free speech.
The Sixth Section guarantees the right to assembly and petition.
§ 6. Assembly; Petition
The right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government shall never be abridged.
Trial Rights Sections (Seventh through Eighteenth Sections)Edit
The Seventh Section guarantees the right to due process, as well as fair and just treatment during investigations:
§ 7. Due Process
No person shall be deprived of liberty or property without due process of law. The right of all persons to fair and just treatment in the course of legislative and executive investigations shall not be infringed.
The Eighth Section requires a Grand Jury indictment before any criminal trial:
§ 8. Grand Jury
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the armed forces in time of war or public danger. Indictment may be waived by the accused. In that case the prosecution shall be by information. The grand jury shall consist of at least twelve citizens, a majority of whom concurring may return an indictment. The power of grand juries to investigate and make recommendations concerning the public welfare or safety shall never be suspended.
The Ninth Section protects the accused against double jeopardy and self-incrimination:
§ 9. Jeopardy and Self-Incrimination
No person shall be put in jeopardy twice for the same offense. No person shall be compelled in any criminal proceeding to be a witness against himself.
To "plead the ninth" means to invoke the right to not incriminate oneself.
The Tenth Section narrowly defines treason as making war against the Federation, adhering to its enemies, and giving them aid and comfort. It specifically states that (except in the cases of leaked classified information) no act of speech or expression can be considered treason:
§ 10. Treason
Treason against the Federation consists only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. Speech, whether expressed in printed or spoken words or by symbolism, shall never constitute treason, except in cases where information that breaches national security is knowingly and/or purposefully conveyed to an enemy. No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The Eleventh Section deals with the rights of the accused: the right to a speedy and public trial, the right to confront witnesses, and the right to an attorney paid for by public funds. No person is allowed to pay for their own attorney under the Constitution. This is to prevent wealthy people from having higher-paid attorneys, and thus a better chance of getting away with a crime or receiving a lighter sentence, than non-wealthy people:
§ 11. Rights of Accused
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of twelve, except that the Senate may provide for a jury of not more than twelve nor less than six in courts not of record. The accused is entitled to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be released on bail, except for felony offenses when the there is a risk of flight from justice or when the offender poses a clear and present danger to the public; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. The accused shall have the right to a court-appointed and jurisdiction-funded attorney. No attorney shall be permitted to accept private funds
The Twelfth Section prohibits excessive fines and bails, cruel and unusual punishment, and the death penalty. It also prohibits the Federation from extraditing individuals to countries where they may face these penalties. The Section also defines the priority of the goals of the criminal justice system: First, to rehabilitate the offender; Second, to protect the public; Third, the rights of the victims of the crime; Fourth, restitution from the offender:
§ 12. Criminal Administration
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted, nor the penalty of death be imposed. Criminal administration shall be based upon the following: the rehabilitation of the offender, the need for protecting the public, the rights of victims of crimes, and restitution from the offender. No person shall be extradited to any foreign country if there exists a possibility that said individual may be subject to penalties prohibited in this section.
The Thirteenth Section deals with habeas corpus and the Fourteenth Section prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. the Fifteenth Section prohibits measures such as bill of attainters, ex-post facto laws, and corruption of blood:
§ 13. Habeas Corpus
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or actual or imminent invasion, the public safety requires it. § 14. Searches and Seizures
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses and other property, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. No warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. § 15. Prohibited State Action
No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed. No law impairing the obligation of contracts, and no law making any irrevocable grant of special privileges or immunities shall be passed. No conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.
The Sixteenth Section deals with civil suits:
§ 16. Civil Suits; Trial by Jury
In civil cases where the amount in controversy exceeds two hundred fifty dollars, the right of trial by a jury of twelve is preserved to the same extent as it existed at common law. The legislature may make provision for a verdict by not less than three-fourths of the jury and, in courts not of record, may provide for a jury of not less than six or more than twelve.
The Seventeenth Section prohibits imprisonment for debt. This includes tax debt:
§ 17. Imprisonment for Debt
There shall be no imprisonment for debt, public or private. This section does not prohibit civil arrest of absconding debtors.
The Eighteenth Section deals with eminent domain:
§ 18. Eminent Domain
Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation.
Nineteenth Section (Right to Keep and Bear Arms)Edit
The Nineteenth Section guarantees the right to keep, own, and bear firearms. This right may not be abridged at any level (federal, state, local):
§ 19. Right to Keep and Bear Arms
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the Federation, nor by the States, nor any political subdivision of a State.
Twentieth Section (Quartering of Soldiers)Edit
§ 20. Quartering Soldiers
No member of the armed forces shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner or occupant, or in time of war except as prescribed by law. The military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.
Twenty-First Section (Rights Not Enumerated)Edit
The "catch-all" section that states that the Declaration of Rights lists, but does not limit, constitutional rights:
§ 21. Construction
The enumeration of rights in this constitution shall not impair or deny others retained by the people.
Twenty-Second Section (Right to Privacy)Edit
§ 22. Right of Privacy
The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed. The legislature shall implement this section.
Twenty-Third Section (Preference Rights for Federation Citizens)Edit
§ 23. Citizenship Preference
This constitution does not prohibit the Federation from granting preferences, on the basis of Antarctic citizenship, to citizens of the Federation over noncitizens.
Twenty-Fourth Section (Rights of Crime Victims)Edit
§ 24. Rights of Crime Victims
Crime victims, as defined by law, shall have the following rights as provided by law: the right to be reasonably protected from the accused through the imposition of appropriate bail or conditions of release by the court; the right to confer with the prosecution; the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness during all phases of the criminal and juvenile justice process; the right to timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused; the right to obtain information about and be allowed to be present at all criminal or juvenile proceedings where the accused has the right to be present; the right to be allowed to be heard, upon request, at sentencing, before or after conviction or juvenile adjudication, and at any proceeding where the accused's release from custody is considered; the right to restitution from the accused; and the right to be informed, upon request, of the accused's escape or release from custody before or after conviction or juvenile adjudication.
Twenty-Fifth Section (Marriage)Edit
Marriage, as defined in the Federation, is a legal arrangement between consenting adults for the purpose defining domestic rights and responsibilities. No law can be passed that prohibits or criminalizes interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, exogamy, polygamy, incestuous marriage, or any other marriage between fully consenting adults:
§ 25. Marriage
Marriage shall be defined as a civil union between two or more consenting adults, without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, gender identity, consanguinity, or fertility potential.
Twenty-Sixth Section (Corporate Personhood)Edit
The 26th Section clarifies that corporations and other non-person legal entities do not have the same constitutional rights that human beings have. As property, corporations enjoy only the rights granted to them by law, and do not enjoy any constitutional rights. The section was added to the Constitution to prevent a court ruling such as the "Citizens United" decision by the United States Supreme Court in 12010. The Section also clarifies that this cannot be used as a basis to deny the media the right to publish according to freedom of the press, or the right of people to organize to achieve a political objective:
§ 26. Corporate Personhood
The rights of the people, defined in this Constitution, shall apply only to individual natural persons. No corporate entity or group of persons shall, as a single body, constitute a legal person protected by the rights and provisions of this Constitution. Nothing in this article may be construed to deny or abridge the right of the Media to exercise freedom of the press, nor the right of groups to assemble peaceably. Federated States of Antarctica
Twenty-Seventh Section (Economic Rights)Edit
Modeled after U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's proposed Second Bill of Rights, the 27th Section guarantees the right to a job, the right to basic housing, the right to health care, the right to education, and the right to social security. It requires that states provide these things to the maximum extent possible: every person has the right to employment within the state corporation of their state. Every state must provide universal health care and free public education. Every state must provide "basic" housing, which at the very minimum, must consist of a bed, a locker, a toilet, and shower facilities. Such housing is required to be adequate and humane, if not comfortable:
§ 27. Economic Rights
The several states shall provide for, to the maximum extent practicable, the right to employment at a living wage with a state corporation, basic housing, health care, education, and social security.
Article II: The SenateEdit
The Federation has a unicameral legislature, called a Senate. There are a total of 100 senators: two from each state who represent the state at large (similar to U.S. Senators), one from the capital district, and one to represent Federation citizens living abroad. The remaining 84 Senate seats are divided up among the states according to population.
Due to the architectural configuration of the Rotunda (Federation capital building), the 14 "at-large" Senators are known as Balcony Senators, due to their seating on the balcony of the Senate Chamber. The 84 apportioned Senators (plus the two from Terra Nova and Citizens Abroad) are known as Floor Senators, due to their seating on the Floor of the Senate Chamber. Each state has the option of dividing their apportioned senators by district according to population or stipulating that they all serve the state at-large. In either case, they are Floor Senators.
Senators must be at least 21 years of age and a resident of the state and district in which they represent for a minimum of three years. Senators serve four-year terms (regardless of "at-large" or apportioned status), with half being elected in each two-year election cycle.
Section 4 allows governors to fill vacancies until a special election can be held.
Senators receive salaries, a per diem, and travel expenses to and from Terra Nova at the beginning and end of each session. The Senate leaders may also receive additional salaries.
The Senate session occurs once per year, beginning on the fourth Monday in May, and lasting 150 consecutive calendar days, unless a special session is called to extend these dates. The scheduling is meant to ensure that sessions occur during the winter months so that Senators can spend the summer months vacationing, attending events, or meeting with constituents during at time of year when they are most active.