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|Amendments to the Constitution|
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The following is the complete set of Amendments to the Constitution of Cygnia, accompanied by commentary.
AMENDMENT I: Declaration of Rights
The Declaration of Rights was first written during the War of Independence as a separate document to the Constitution. However, the government of Chancellor Frederick Northam decided that the Declaration should be made part of the Empire's supreme law, and so proposed that it be added to the Constitution as an Amendment in 1794. The First Amendment passed Congress on 4 April 1794, and went before the State Legislatures in October the same year. The First Amendment has the unique distinction among all the Amendments in that it was the only Amendment to receive unanimous support from both Congress and the States.
- Human dignity is inviolable, and must be actively protected and defended by this Imperial Government and all Citizens of the Empire.
- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
- No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
- The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, ,and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and 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.
- 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 land or naval forces, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
- In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favour, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
- In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty Sovereigns, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the Empire, than according to the rules of the common law.
- Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
- The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
- The powers not delegated to the Empire by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
AMENDMENT II: Sovereign immunity
The Second Amendment clarified Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution, which gives diversity jurisdiction to the judiciary to hear cases "between a state and citizens of another state." It ensures that every State has sovereign immunity. The Second Amendment passed Congress on 8 August 1806, and was carried by 4 of the 6 States in January 1807.
- The Judicial power of the Empire shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the Imperial States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or subjects of any Foreign State.
AMENDMENT III: Territory Amendment
The Third Amendment established the powers and responsibilities of the Imperial Government for the Territories, and was proposed after the establishment of the Kaleep Territory in 1808. It passed Congress on 3 October 1808, and was carried by 5 of the 6 States in March 1809.
- Territories may be established by the Empire should her national borders be expanded through Annexation or Settlement.
- These Territories shall have independent Territorial Governments, with a Legislature, Executive and Judiciary independent of the Empire.
- His Imperial Majesty shall be empowered with the right to appoint Governors to represent Him in the Territories; the enfranchised People of the Territories shall have the right to Vote for their Legislatures and Executives, the Former of which shall consist of One House, and the Latter of which shall consist of a First Minister, and a Second Minister.
- The Electoral Procedures of the Territories shall be standardised with Federal proceedings.
- Should a Territory's population exceed the Number of Two Hundred Thousand, the Empire shall, at the Territorial Legislature's request, grant the enfranchised People of the Territory with a Referendum of Accession, the Passage of which shall allow the Territory's Admission into the Federation as a State.
AMENDMENT IV: Cancellarial Succession
The Fourth Amendment, the first in almost fifty years, was written to supersede the ambiguous wording of Article II, Section 3, Clause 6 of the Constitution, which does not expressly state whether the Vice Chancellor becomes the Chancellor or Acting Chancellor if the Chancellor dies, resigns, is removed from office or is otherwise unable to discharge the powers of the Chancellorship. The Fourth Amendment passed Congress on 10 February 1855, after the confusion caused by the sudden death of Chancellor Harrison Redford on 8 August 1854. While his Vice Chancellor Hunter Alston was sworn in as the new Chancellor on 15 August 1854, it wasn't until six months later when the Amendment was adopted.
- In case of the removal of the Chancellor from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice Chancellor shall become Chancellor.
- Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice Chancellor, the Chancellor shall nominate a Vice Chancellor who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
- Whenever the Chancellor transmits to the Lord President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice Chancellor as Acting Chancellor.
- Whenever the Vice Chancellor and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive Secretariats or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the Lord President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the Chancellor is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice Chancellor shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting Chancellor. Thereafter, when the Chancellor transmits to the Lord President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice Chancellor and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive Secretariats or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the Lord President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the Chancellor is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
- Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the Chancellor is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice Chancellor shall continue to discharge the same as Acting Chancellor; otherwise, the Chancellor shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
AMENDMENT V: Compulsory voting
Passed by Congress on 5 August 1855, and then by 5 of the 6 States in September, the Fifth Amendment instituted compulsory voting. The Fifth Amendment is the first of what came to be known as the Democratisation Amendments.
- All enfranchised Citizens of the Empire shall have the obligation and national duty to attend and vote in all Elections and Referenda. Failure to cast one's Vote shall be considered an offence, the Punishment for which may be chosen by the Congress.
AMENDMENT VI: Senate Amendment
Otherwise known as the Senate Amendment, the Sixth Amendment abolished the Senate as a House of Peers, and instead reformed the Senate as a fully elected body. The first clause of the Amendment replaces the first clause of Article I, Section 3. To ensure that the Amendment actually passed the existing Senate, a compromise was added to the proposed Amendment, calling for the creation of an Imperial Council, to be composed of all sitting Lord Senators. The Sixth Amendment also changed the required number of Senators so that the number can be determined by Congress itself. The Senate Amendment passed Congress on 8 April 1860, and was carried by 5 of the 7 States in July. The Senate Amendment is the second of the Democratisation Amendments.
- The Senate of the Empire shall be composed of four Senators from each State and two from each Territory, directly elected by the enfranchised People of Cygnia, to serve a term of four Years; each Senator shall have one Vote.
- The Privy Council of the Empire shall be convened when His Imperial Majesty requires it, to ensure that His Imperial Majesty's Government is functioning properly. The Privy Council of the Empire shall be comprised of His Imperial Majesty, the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, and twenty-four other Lord Councillors as appointed by His Imperial Majesty to serve at His Imperial Majesty's Pleasure.
AMENDMENT VII: Amendment Procedures
The Seventh Amendment has the distinction of being one of only two Constitutional Amendments concerning Amendments themselves. The Seventh Amendment replaced Article V of the Constitution. As such, the Seventh Amendment was the last Amendment to pass through the existing Article V system. It passed Congress on 3 February 1864, and was carried by 6 of the 8 States in May. The Seventh Amendment is the last of the Democratisation Amendments.
- The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the People of the Empire through a Double Majority.
- In this Case, a Double Majority is defined through both a majority Affirmative Vote in the enfranchised Population overall, and a majority in the number of States carried.
AMENDMENT VIII: State Governments
The Eighth Amendment specified and standardised the structure of the State Governments. It passed Congress on 7 January 1868, and was passed with a 67% popular majority and was carried by 5 of the 8 States in April.
- The States shall possess an independent Legislature, Executive and Judiciary.
- His Imperial Majesty shall be empowered with the right to appoint Governors General to represent Him in the State Governments. Thus, the Governors General shall be vested with the Executive Authority in the States.
- The State Legislatures shall be bicameral, and will be directly elected by the enfranchised People of their respective States.
- Some of the powers of the Governors General shall be devolved to and exercised by a Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, to be appointed by the Governor General.
- The State Judiciaries shall be headed by High Courts, which shall possess the exclusive power to interpret the State Constitutions and act as the final Court of Appeal for exclusive State Cases.
AMENDMENT IX: State Debts
The Ninth Amendment gave the Imperial Government the power to take over debts incurred by a state at any time. The Ninth Amendment passed Congress on 9 October 1873, and was passed with a 83% popular majority and was carried by 7 of the 9 States in February the next year.
- The Congress may take over from the States their public debts, or a proportion thereof according to the respective numbers of their people as shown by the latest statistics of the Empire, and may convert, renew, or consolidate such debts, or any part thereof; and the States shall indemnify the Empire in respect of the debts taken over, and thereafter the interest payable in respect of the debts shall be deducted and retained from the portions of the surplus revenue of the Empire payable to the several States, or if such surplus is insufficient, or if there is no surplus, then the deficiency or the whole amount shall be paid by the several States.
- The Empire may make agreements with the States with respect to the public debts of the States, including the taking over of such debts by the Empire; the management of such debts; the payment of interest and the provision and management of sinking funds in respect of such debts; the consolidation, renewal, conversion and redemption of such debts; the indemnification of the Empire by the States in respect of debts taken over by the Empire; and the borrowing of money by the State or the Empire, or by the Empire for the States.
- The Congress may make laws for validating any such agreement made before the commencement of this Amendment.
- The Congress may make laws for the carrying out by the parties thereto of any such agreement.
- Any such agreement may be varied or rescinded by the parties thereto.
- Every such agreement and any such variation thereof shall be binding upon the Empire and the States parties thereto notwithstanding anything contained in this Constitution or the Constitutions of the several States or in any law of the Congress of the Empire or of any State.
AMENDMENT X: Preamble
The Tenth Amendment replaced the Preamble of the Constitution, and was the first Amendment proposed in more than seventy years. It was the first Constitutional Amendment passed by the government of the Second Empire, and the Tenth Amendment is considered the de facto founding document of the modern Cygnian state. It was passed by Congress on 7 May 1946, and passed with a 97% popular majority and was carried by all 18 States in August.
- We the Cygnian people:
- Proud that our national unity has been forged by Cygnians from many ancestries;
- Never forgetting the sacrifices of all who defended our country and our liberty in time of war;
- Upholding freedom, tolerance, individual dignity and the rule of law;
- Honouring the First Peoples of this Nation, the Aborigines, for their deep kinship with their lands and for their ancient and continuing cultures which enrich the life of our country;
- Recognising the nation-building contribution of generations of immigrants;
- Mindful of our responsibility to protect our unique natural environment;
- Supportive of achievement as well as equality of opportunity for all; and
- Valuing independence as dearly as the national spirit which binds us together in both adversity and success;
- Do hereby establish and commit ourselves to this Constitution of the Empire of the United Cygnian States.
- We the Cygnian people:
AMENDMENT XI: Territorial Vote
The Eleventh Amendment has the unique distinction of being the only Amendment to amend an Amendment. The Eleventh Amendment altered the Seventh Amendment, specifying that residents of the Territories are permitted to vote in referenda, and be counted towards the national total. Prior to the passage of the Eleventh Amendment, Citizens living in Territories could vote in federal elections, but could not vote in Constitutional or other referenda. The Eleventh Amendment passed Congress on 8 August 1958, and passed with a 73% popular majority and was carried by 14 of the 18 States in October.
- In reckoning the Will of the enfranchised People of the Empire concerning Amendments to this Constitution, those resident in the Territories will also be counted, and shall be henceforth permitted to Vote and thus voice their Opinions in the Constitutional Referenda.
AMENDMENT XII: Nationalisation of Monopolies
The Twelfth Amendment extended the government's power to legislate in respect of monopolies. The Twelfth Amendment was proposed following the catastrophic and chaos-causing collapse of the Cygnian-owned Orey Group, which held a virtual monopoly over automobile sales in Cygnia. The Twelfth Amendment is considered to be the Amendment that began Cygnia's transition to a semi-socialist economy. The Twelfth Amendment passed Congress of 6 June 1971, and passed with a slim 52% popular majority and was carried by 10 of the 18 States, and none of the Territories, in November.
- In the interest of securing the National Economy of the Empire, the Congress shall be empowered to break monopolies created within Cygnia.
- The Congress shall also be empowered to compensate, from the funds of the Treasury of the Empire, the owners of the monopolies seized and broken.
- The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
- This Amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
AMENDMENT XIII: Equal Rights
The Thirteenth Amendment was designed to guarantee equal rights for women. The Eleventh Amendment passed Congress on 8 November 1972, and passed with a popular majority of 63% and was carried by 13 of the 18 States, as well as 3 of the 6 Territories, in March the next year.
- Equality of rights under the Law shall not be denied or abridged by the Empire or by any State on account of Sex.
- The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
- This Amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
AMENDMENT XIV: Age Amendment
The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the States and the Imperial Government from using age as a reason for denying the right to vote to Cygnian citizens who are at least eighteen years old. The Fourteenth Amendment was passed by Congress on 2 January 1975, was passed with a popular majority of 72%, and was carried by 13 of the 18 States, and by 3 of the 6 Territories.
- The rights of citizens of the Empire, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the Empire or by any State on account of age.
- The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
AMENDMENT XV: Congressional Dissolution
The Fifteenth Amendment empowers the Emperor to completely dissolve Congress in the event of a successful vote of no confidence in the Government or other extreme cases, and call for new "midterm" elections to create a new legislature to complete the term of its predecessor. The Fifteenth Amendment was adopted in the wake of the 1975 Cygnian constitutional crisis, which was resolved with the 1975 federal elections. The Fifteenth Amendment was passed by Congress on 6 May 1976, and passed with a popular majority of 59%, carried by 12 of the 18 States, and 2 of the 6 Territories.
- His Imperial Majesty the Emperor shall be empowered to dismiss the Government and call for the complete dissolution of both Houses of Congress in the event that a vote of no confidence should pass in the House of Representatives. His Imperial Majesty shall thereafter order His Governors and Governors General to issue writs for federal midterm elections to form a new legislature, which shall serve for the remainder of the dissolved Congress' intended term. His Imperial Majesty shall also be empowered to act by this Amendment in other extreme cases as the Congress may provide.
AMENDMENT XVI: Compensation of Congressmen
The Sixteenth Amendment prohibits any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress from taking effect until the start of the next Congress. It is the most recent amendment to be adopted. The Sixteenth Amendment was passed by Congress on 8 September 1980, and passed with a popular majority of 86%, carried by 15 of the 18 States, and all of the Territories.
- No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Senators and Representatives shall have intervened.