Constitution of Jurlandia
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.
If you want to see single-documents of the Constitution in English and Russian, without hotlinks, click here.
THE CONSTITUTION OF JURLANDIA
Preamble: We, the people of Jurlandia, in order to secure the blessings of life, liberty, community, and the pursuit of happiness for ourselves and our posterity, hereby ordain and establish this Constitution of the Republic of Jurlandia
CHAPTER ONE — GENERAL PROVISIONS
1. The Republic of Jurlandia is a democratic, secular, and unitary state. The Constitution of Jurlandia shall be the supreme law of the Republic, and shall be interpreted in light of generally-accepted world norms of civilized behavior, including norms further specified in this Constitution. No treaty, legislation, regulation, ordinance, governmental action, or any other action taken under color of law, may contravene this Constitution.
2. As used in this Constitution, "treaty" means any agreement between Jurlandia and any other country or countries, including agreements under the auspices of any international organization; "legislation" means any law or statute adopted by the Parliament of Jurlandia; "regulation" means any law, rule, or procedure adopted by any organ of state administration, as authorized by legislation; "ordinance" means any law, rule, or procedure adopted by any organ of local administration, as authorized by legislation; "government" or "governmental action" means any official activity by any officer or agent of any organ of state or local administration; and "action taken under color of law" means any decision or action by any official governed by this Constitution, including any judicial official.
3. All law-making, law-implementing, and law-enforcement activity — broadly defined — must be governed by this Constitution. Any restrictions upon exercising rights and freedoms are allowed by this Constitution only to the extent necessary to secure the rights and freedoms of others, to secure domestic tranquilty and the common defense, and to protect the constitutional democracy here created; in any such restrictions, the essence of constitutional rights and freedoms must not be impaired. The people acknowledge that all rights and freedoms must be balanced with the essence — the core values — underlying all other rights and freedoms.
1. This Constitution shall be published in Jurlandic and Russian. Each version shall be equally authoritative. Any other version in any language, if deemed useful by the Supreme Court of Jurlandia, may be used for purposes of shedding light upon the meaning of the words and phrases of this Constitution. Any writings or other expressions of opinion, published during the course of deliberations upon the text of this Constitution, may likewise be considered by the Supreme Court in determining the meaning of this Constitution.
2. The people of Jurlandia intend by this Constitution to base their Republic upon a foundation of what is generally referred to as "Western constitutional democracy" — hereinafter referred to as "advanced constitutional democracy" — that is, advanced norms of civil society, political wisdom, administrative experience, good governance, reason, justice, and law. The people therefore instruct that the words and phrases of this Constitution shall be interpreted in light of the meaning given to them by the best usages of advanced constitutional democracies and by the best judicial and scholarly interpretations of such democracies. The people furthermore instruct that the words and phrases of Jurlandia's law, including this Constitution, shall not be interpreted according to usages imposed by any former totalitarian system if those usages conflict with the usages of advanced constitutional democracies. The people do not consider the usages of advanced constitutional democracies to belong to anyone, and hereby explicitly command that those usages be employed as necessary to give life and meaning to this Constitution — so that the people may, in due course, contribute their own experiences and wisdoms to that evolving global tradition.
1. Upon the adoption of this Constitution, the current organs of state power shall be considered provisional in nature, their sole remaining purpose being to effectuate an orderly transfer of power to the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches empowered under this Constitution. Legislation, regulations, ordinances, and other acts or decisions of such organs, in force prior to the adoption of this Constitution, shall thereupon be considered provisional in nature, to be replaced as soon as practicable by legislation, regulations, ordinances, and other acts or decisions adopted or taken pursuant to this Constitution.
2. The people intend by this Constitution to make a decisive break with their totalitarian past, while at the same time not unduly upsetting the effects of laws and actions made or taken prior to adoption of this Constitution. Unless abhorrent to fundamental justice, laws and actions made or taken prior to adoption of this Constitution shall be given full faith and credit under this Constitution.
1. This Constitution shall enter into force upon the agreement thereto of two-thirds of the citizens of Jurlandia voting thereon.
2. This and all elections shall be by secret ballot and open to all citizens of Jurlandia aged 18 or older who have resided in their electoral district at least two months prior to the election. All elections in Jurlandia shall be conducted according to the general principles set forth in the Declaration on Criteria for Free and Fair Elections adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Council on 25 March 1994.
3. Within four months following the adoption of this Constitution, a general election shall be held for the purpose of electing the first Parliament and the first President and Vice President of the Republic of Jurlandia under this Constitution. A vote for a presidential candidate shall constitute a vote for that candidate's chosen running mate for the vice presidency. In this and all elections, if a candidate does not receive a majority of the votes cast in the first round, the election shall proceed to a runoff round 14 days later between the candidates receiving the highest and second highest number of votes. In case of any tie, another runoff round shall be held.
1. Upon their election, the President and the Parliament shall forthwith proceed to choose the members of the Supreme Court, pursuant to this Constitution. If they do not choose the members of the Supreme Court within four weeks following the final runoff round, a new general election shall be called but none of those elected in the prior election shall be eligible to hold public office for ten years.
2. By this provision, the people of Jurlandia ordain that under this Constitution the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches shall be co-equal, each entrusted with the powers granted to them by this Constitution; no person may frustrate or contravene the people's intent to move swiftly to a fully-functioning constitutional democracy; this Constitution cannot be fully obeyed, and the will of the people — herein expressed — cannot be fully satisfied, until the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches of the Republic of Jurlandia have each been duly established according to this Constitution.
1. The state language of Jurlandia shall be Jurlandic. The official languages of Jurlandia shall be Jurlandic and Russian. Nothing herein shall limit or prejudice the rights provided under this Constitution or by legislation for linguistic minorities. All laws shall be published in Jurlandic and Russian.
2. Jurlandia's capital city, state seal, flag, and anthem may be designated or changed by the Parliament by legislation.
1. This Constitution may be amended only with the consent of two-thirds of the citizens voting thereon in a general election. A majority of the Parliament may propose an amendment; alternatively, one million citizens may propose an amendment in a petition drive; in either case, that proposal shall be placed upon the ballot in the next general election, provided that at least one full year has elapsed between the parliamentary or petition-drive proposal for amendment and the general election in which that proposal's adoption is to be voted on. Upon the consent of two-thirds of the electorate, the amendment shall become law and shall modify, as necessary, all inconsistent provisions of the Constitution.
2. The Parliament shall enact legislation on amendment initiatives, and may enact legislation on other forms of citizen initiatives and referendums; no such legislation may derogate from general provisions of this Constitution relating to the electoral process.
1. The Constitution of Jurlandia shall compose an organic whole. Each part shall be interpreted in light of all others. Likewise, treaties, legislation, regulations, ordinances, and acts or decisions adopted pursuant to this Constitution shall compose an organic whole, both with respect to each other and in their service to the Constitution and to Jurlandia's obligations within the world community of free nations.
2. Therefore, all elements of Jurlandia's law, broadly conceived, which can be interpreted and carried out in a manner that does not violate the Constitution, shall be thus interpreted and carried out, implemented, and enforced. Any element which arguably or theoretically could be construed as unconstitutional, but which has not been thus construed in any action or practice giving rise to a case or controversy before a court, shall be deemed to be presumptively constitutional until such time, if ever, that a court holds it unconstitutional. Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the power of the Supreme Court to determine the grounds for issuing declaratory judgments, or to determine the criteria defining a justiciable case or controversy.
3. All public servants or officials, and all citizens of Jurlandia, shall carry out their obligations and defend their rights pursuant to the Constitution of Jurlandia. The people hereby remind themselves and their posterity that to do so they must look to the spirit as well as the letter of their law.
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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