The Gaian Constitution (2/9) Bill of Rights

I love political science, and so for fun I decided to draft a modified version of the US Constitution to better reflect the new issues of a modern era. That’s what this is. This project was not meant to be disrespectful to the current Constitution, it was meant to be a tribute following in the same patriotic spirit.

The name comes from Gaius Gracchus, one of Ancient Rome’s greatest progressive reformers along with his brother, Tiberius. The header images for these posts come from my love of rabbits 🙂 I thought a white rabbit might be an interesting symbol for a grassroots movement seeing as how they eat grass, and are individually weak yet good at multiplying into something greater.

This is merely a first draft, and I’d love to get feedback for how to improve on it if anyone has any suggestions they’d like to share. After I’m done uploading everything I have, I’ll also share some ideas I played around with that didn’t make the cut. At some point in the future I would also like to do a point by point commentary for why I included every new policy and procedure in this document over alternatives I could have went with instead.

Cornelia Africana Introduces her sons, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus

Article I: The Declaration of Secure and Comprehensive Individual Autonomy

Every member of the human race is afforded at birth with inherent and unbreakable value, by virtue of their status as autonomous, sapient beings of untold potential. This status, which is hereafter legally as well as morally recognized in perpetuity, entitles every person to dignity, respectful treatment and freedom. It is the shared right of all human beings to be born into an egalitarian society, where rank and distinction arises purely from meritocracy, rather than privileged status at birth or the whims of tyrannical leaders.

The primary goal of any binding political association in this land must be the conservation of the natural and divine rights of mankind. These rights include life, liberty, safety, sovereignty over one’s property, as well as the means to pursue happiness and self-actualization. The individual people are free to do anything that does not expressly harm others. Thus, each person’s freedom has only those limits which assure that other members of society are not hampered from exercising their own rights and liberty.

Anyone under the governance, care or responsibility of the United States shall be secure in these inalienable rights at all times, and furthermore, if the government of the United States shall act against these divinely imbued rights, it has forfeited its legitimacy to govern entirely. It is through the individual that all political legitimacy derives and therefore, a government that mistreats its individual Citizens and Constituents is no just government at all. A country is only as great as its lowest individual member is treated.

And so, every Citizen, legal immigrant and asylum seeker shall be secure in their Comprehensive Individual Autonomy, the tenets of which include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following provisions:

PERSONAL SOVEREIGNTY: The individual is in charge of and responsible for their own body and what happens to it, including the right to change, modify or destroy it as they see fit. This includes freedom to access doctor-assisted suicide, and terminate a pregnancy one does not want or cannot biologically support.

  1. Right to Love: The State shall not impede individuals from marrying, copulating or otherwise associating with any other consenting adult human. The State shall not impede individuals in their pursuit of self-love; all Citizens are free to transition to the appropriate internal gender identity. This includes the right of individuals to modify their own body through the consumption of any medicine, supplements, herbs, hormones or pharmaceuticals as well as physical modifications including cosmetic surgery, piercings and tattoos.

  2. Right to Bodily Integrity: The State shall not harm or deface the body or mind of any individual (including civil prisoners, prisoners of war or suspects) in any way, nor allow any third party to do the same. An individual’s bodily structure, functions or appearance shall not be violated or altered against their will. This includes but is not limited to: execution, forced surgery, loss of organ or limb, forced lobotomy or other neuro-surgeries, branding, maiming, burning, public humiliation or degradation, punitive rape, solitary confinement, water boarding, biological or chemical warfare, torture, non-consenting medical experimentation as well as any other actions which would cause undue damage to a person’s physical, psychological or emotional well being.

  3. Right to Identity: All individuals have the right to a name, which shall not be taken away under any circumstances, including criminals in prison. Upon coming of age (18) Individuals are given the opportunity to change their name to reflect their personal character and internal image. The legal, social and cultural rights of personhood are unique to human beings and cannot be afforded to artificial entities including but not limited to Corporations.

  4. Right to Fairness: The government shall neither partake in nor condone in the discrimination of any individuals for the aforementioned choices they make freely with their own body. The government shall protect all individuals from facing violence, discrimination, harassment or other forms of harm due to their language, culture, appearance, race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliations, sex, gender, orientation, pregnancy status, physical disabilities or ancestry. All shall be equal before the law and in their ability to participate in society.

  5. Right to Citizenship: All human beings born within the borders, boundaries or jurisdiction of the United States shall immediately be granted full Citizenship including all the benefits thereof. Only a consenting adult Citizen may legally renounce their own Citizenship; it may not be punitively revoked by the State itself. Citizenship shall be available to anyone with grandparents or parents who are natural born citizens, or whose parents obtained citizenship. Citizenship may also be obtained by marriage to an existing Citizen or by proving the ability to work and sustain oneself in-country.

  6. Right to Self-Determination: No individual may be forced into involuntary servitude by the government or any non-government third party except in the case of temporary and reasonable community service as a legally prescribed punishment, after proper trial and sentencing in a court of law (see below). Furthermore, a Citizen’s freedom of Movement into, out of, or anywhere within the country shall not be inhibited or hindered by the government with the exception of a legal arrest. The State shall not prevent individuals from offering their own services freely to other parties, including prostitution with their own bodies.

  7. Rights of the Child: All Citizens have the right to sire and raise children, unless neglect or abuse has been discovered and verified in a court of law. Every child is entitled to adequate care, dignity and respect, including the right to a name, caregivers, access to the necessities of life, opportunities for education, freedom from child labor, maltreatment, neglect or abuse, the right not to be detained except as a last resort, and all protections outlined in the UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child. They are entitled to their own legal counsel or representation in any court proceedings. Children shall be free from any military service or forced labor. The best interests of the child shall be paramount in all legal proceedings concerning them. No forced cosmetic surgeries or bodily modifications may be done to an infant or minor, including male and female circumcision. In cases of male circumcision for religious purposes, the applicant for surgery may undergo the procedure when they come of age and may legally give consent.

SOVEREIGNTY OF MIND AND SPIRIT: People are free to choose their own faith, spirituality or belief system and celebrate it in their own way. However, freedom of religion also includes freedom from religion, and the right to live a life undisturbed from harassment or discrimination due to any real or perceived lack of, or belief in the “wrong,” faith. Religious beliefs and practices shall be secure, however they are not a valid excuse to disobey or subvert the Comprehensive Individual Autonomy of others, or the secular law of the land. Laws may not be proposed based on religious doctrine; the government’s action must be based on the greater public good not an instrument of religious dogma.

  1. Right to Consciousness and Recreation: The ability to explore the higher potential of one’s own consciousness is a fundamental human right which shall not be violated. The participant accepts the responsibility for all bodily or social consequences as a result, but it is not the government’s place to make such a decision for them. Cannabis products shall be legalized for recreational purposes along with tobacco and alcohol and can be freely purchased by any individual eighteen (18) years or older. Psychedelic hallucinogens including lysergic acid diethylamide, psilocin, psilocybin, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, peyote and salvia shall be legalized for the purposes of medical research and use in clinical settings for the purposes of therapy and treatment. Their distribution shall be left at the discretion of medical professionals. All other substances shall be decriminalized and treated as a public health issue rather than a criminal matter.

  2. Right to Nature: A healthy, sustainable environment, including access to fresh water, clean air and a rich biodiversity, shall be the common heritage of all citizens. It is the duty of the government then to protect and nurture the natural ecology.

SOVEREIGNTY OF PHYSICAL, ELECTRONIC AND DIGITAL SPACES: Citizens have the right to own property, whether it exist in a physical or electronic space, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of that property. All citizens shall be secure in their owned or rented homes and dwellings (including temporary dwellings such as hotel rooms), domiciles, real estate, as well as their automobiles, papers, pagers, phones, computers, servers, hard drives, cloud storage accounts or devices, flash drives, optical media and all other electronic, digital, written or physical files, documents, records, recordings, storage and belongings. Any new technology which fulfills the purposes of storing personal or confidential information, expression or property shall also share in this comprehensive protection. In all, Citizens have a right to privacy in their own homes and dwellings, with their own belongings, and in their online or electronic communications and activities.

  1. Protection Against Search and Seizure: These aforementioned assets and effects will not be searched, confiscated, destroyed or otherwise acted upon by law enforcement or any actors of the State barring express written permission by the owner. Barring that, State actors and law enforcement shall require a lawful warrant signed by a Judge, granted under reasonable, plausible and provable assumption of wrongdoing (see below). In addition, the State will protect individuals or provide recompense against the aforementioned actions committed by unlawful third party actors. The practice of civil asset forfeiture also known as judicial forfeiture or civil seizure is expressly forbidden in all circumstances. No private property shall be seized for public use without fair compensation at market price value or some other freely agreed upon alternative. In these circumstances, the original owner of said property is entitled to have legal counsel be present and acting on their behalf during negotiations with the State.

  2. Protection Against Surveillance: Citizens shall not be tracked in their written, physical, digital, electronic or online activities either by the State, law enforcement, companies or any third parties. As much as is physically possible, all written, electronic, digital and online activities and communications are to be encrypted, private, protected and untouched except by the addressed correspondents. Data mining by the government, companies or third parties is expressly prohibited as is phone tapping, mail examination or any mass electronic, digital and online surveillance or recording. A Citizen’s online, electronic and/or digital footprint is to remain private and secure from third parties and the State. This shall include their location and phone GPS. The use of bot accounts/automated dummy profiles on social media for the purposes of misleading people to sell them products or feed them misleading information is expressly prohibited by both State actors and companies. Citizens shall not be watched in their homes using drones, stingrays or any similar technology without express written permission by the person under surveillance or a lawful warrant signed by a Judge and granted under reasonable, plausible and provable assumption of wrongdoing (see below).

  3. Protection Against Quartering: No soldier, militiaman or military official in time of peace or overseas conflict, nor any policemen or law enforcement officer, of any rank or affiliation, in time of war or peace, shall ever be quartered in any home without the express written consent of the legal owner and residents.

SOVEREIGNTY OF SPEECH, CULTURE AND ASSEMBLY: All Citizens shall be protected in all forms of speech that do not promote credible, serious calls for violence, discrimination, harassment or harm against any individual or group. Criticism or general airing of grievances against individuals or protected groups are permitted as long as there is not a targeted call for violence, harassment or credible threats of harm. Speech in this definition includes but is not necessarily limited to: spoken word, published or electronic written word, personal correspondence, peaceful protest, picketing, civil disobedience, peaceful assembly, public displays, billboards or posters, films or other visual media, radio broadcasts, video games, music, phone calls and audio recording.

  1. Right to Information: Citizens are free to seek out any information or ideologies they please and will be guaranteed unrestricted access to them, including government records or political opinions which are critical of current or past government policies and officials. Freedom of the Press, Freedom to Access Information, Freedom to demand official government records or information as well as Freedom of Thought shall not be violated under any circumstances.

  2. Right to Association: All forms of political, religious, economic, spiritual, ethical and personal philosophy which do not directly call for the harm, violence towards, discrimination against or destruction of other groups, races, creeds and/or individuals shall be allowed to exist and protected by the State. However, hate speech towards individuals or protected groups under the guise of religion or political opinion shall not be tolerated, and all religious affiliations must pay their legal, fair share of taxes the same as any other organization.

  3. Right to Economic Enterprise: Citizens have the right to start companies for the purpose of providing goods and services for profit. The free ownership and governance of business shall not be tampered with except where the welfare of the workers, consumers, or free market principle of competition is seriously hindered. Congress may break up companies which have a significant majority of market share, or intervene in the interests of their workers and consumers if the business neglects that duty themselves. In these cases, the State must present a compelling case in a court of law for why action is warranted and their findings must be open to the public. Similarly, the People including workers or consumers harmed by a company’s actions my bring a case to trial against private businesses or otherwise petition the State to do so (see Articles VI and VII.) In addition, incorporation will be handled at the Federal level rather than the States, to prevent a race to the bottom where corporations are granted overly favorable conditions at the expense of worker abuse or unjust externalities placed on consumers and the environment.

  4. Right to Unions and Collective Bargaining: Citizens have the right to pursue any career they choose. Citizens shall not be hindered in their ability to unionize, strike, collectively bargain or otherwise defend their interests, including fair wages and treatment by management. The State shall not interfere in unionization, collective protest or picketing including “wildcat” strikes.

  5. Right to a Neutral Government: The government shall neither outlaw, impede nor show favoritism to any culture, language, religion, spirituality, race, heritage, sex, gender, orientation, association or philosophy. All are to be protected under the law and freedom of association shall not be violated. State and Church shall forever be separated, and to demonstrate this principle, all references to “God” shall be removed from the currency as well as all government property, paperwork and insignia.

ELECTORAL SOVEREIGNTY: All citizens possess the right to have their interests represented in government, and to vote in fair, regular, free and transparent elections. Elections shall be regularly scheduled, professionally conducted and held in good faith under any and all circumstances. Elections shall never be canceled, postponed, delayed or abolished.

  1. Right to Vote and Participate: Every adult Citizen of eighteen (18) years and older shall have the right to vote in Federal elections under any and all circumstances. This right shall never be taken away; not in jail or prison, nor traveling abroad, nor for convicted felons outside the prison system. Voting will take place over the course of a week rather than a single day, giving everyone the time to take part. There must also be options for mail-in and encrypted online ballots in addition to in-person voting locations. All citizens are automatically registered to vote at the age of eighteen (18.)

  2. Right to an Expressive Ballot & Right of Fair Outcome: First past the post voting will be replaced with Range (aka Score) Voting in all single-winner elections. Instead of selecting one choice, Citizens will receive a rated choice ballot of the top ten party’s nominees (as determined by an aggregate of independent polls), as well as any independent nominees who’ve reached the national ballot (by collecting 1,000,000 signatures in a Citizen’s Petition) and with the option to write-in up to three additional candidates. All candidates on the ballot must send a one page summary of their background and/or positions on the issues, which will be available at voting locations and/or mailed along with the ballot. Ballots that are sent in blank, or where every candidate is given a “zero/no opinion/disapprove” rating will be considered a vote for “none of the above.” If this obtains a plurality result, the election shall be held again with all new candidates the following year, with the incumbent(s) presiding in the meantime.

  3. Right to Run for Office: Every Citizen meeting the age and experience requirements shall be eligible to run for local and national office whether they be natural born, convicted of any crime, both or neither. The government shall not show favoritism to or hinder any candidate(s) or party(s) seeking government office, nor shall it hinder any individual’s right to form, join or leave any political party.

  4. Right to a Secure Process: The integrity of electronic voting machines as well as online ballots shall be overseen by a non-partisan team of coding experts, non-government, unaffiliated, objectively neutral third party organizations and a paper trail.

  5. Right to Fairness: The electoral college will be abolished, so that a simple popular majority selects the Executive (See Article IV). Citizens United shall be repealed immediately; instead, elections are to be publicly funded with a hard limit on donations by any one person or group that a candidate or their campaign employees/organizations are allowed to accept. At least in the context of elections, “speech” is not synonymous with “money” or else the rich may drown out the opinions and concerns of the poor and middle class. In the ability to vote and influence elections, no individual or group may be allowed to utilize an advantage over others, or else we are no longer functionally a true democracy.

  6. Protection Against Cheating: If it is discovered and proven in Federal court that any individual or Party has in some way cheated, defrauded, subverted or otherwise corrupted the votes or election process and won because of their actions, the affected election is immediately invalid. The affected officials shall be removed from office immediately and, if proven to be complicit in a court of law, arrested as traitors. The entire administration will be ejected from office while the candidate with the next highest vote total serves as an emergency acting magistrate in their place. Emergency elections shall be held where the offending individuals (and, if complicit, the Parties they belonged to) will not be allowed to run. If the offending candidate(s) or party(s) did not win the election despite their actions, the sitting official and/or administration remains, yet the guilty parties shall still be prosecuted for treason. If any political party conducts, aids in or conceals any election fraud, disruption, subversion, corruption, or collusion with malicious or subversive actors foreign and/or domestic with intent to influence the election results or process in any way, then that Party shall be disbanded. The guilty individuals will be tried for treason, and all sitting officials belonging to that party shall be recalled, with emergency elections to replace them. In this way, there is incentive for party members to keep each other honest.

SOVEREIGNTY OVER THE GOVERNMENT AND CONSTITUTION: Let this Constitution enshrine the fact that individual people are above government officers or institutions. The government works to protect and empower its people, not the other way around. Similarly, the people shall be recognized officially as their own independent branch of government, with a greater and more defined ability to intervene against incompetence or tyranny. (See Section VI.)

  1. Right to Constitutional Relevancy: Let it be known once and for all time that the Constitution is a living document. This is the only sensible way to interpret any Constitution, as it is meant to serve the people and the unique circumstances they live in, as opposed to the past. These Constitutional reforms exists to level the trend towards authoritarianism over the past century, due to changing circumstances the original Framers never could have foreseen. The future generations, therefore, have the right to evolve this Constitution for the changing times we in 2019 may not be able to foresee. The people have the power to amend their Constitution independently of any government body (see Sections VI and VII) who may have vested interests in the status quo as opposed to the people they’re meant to serve. Every 50 years, there shall be Constitutional Conventions called for with leading government critics, human rights activists as well as political science and history scholars called to draft potential alternatives. They can then propose amendments to, or draft a new Constitution and submit them to the People and government for ratification. (See Section VII.) No sitting government officials may be allowed to attend a Constitutional Convention. In this way, we may always be challenged to do better rather than settle into a monolithic status quo. Our Constitution should never descend into anachronism ever again.

  2. Right to Government Accountability: Citizens have the right to sue their government for wrongdoing, and petition their government to address their relevant concerns and problems. Government officials shall address the American people at the end of their terms in each position to defend their actions. Government officials shall also be subject to recall by the People if it is determined they are not acting in the People’s best interests. (See Section VI.)

SECURITY FROM ABUSE IN LEGAL PROCEEDINGS: Individuals have the Right to fair legal proceedings and consultation. They are entitled to Protections against police brutality, overzealous prosecution and excessively punitive damages. In all cases with law enforcement, investigators and judges, the people shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. United States Citizens shall never be deemed “enemy combatants” unless found to be so in a Court of Law after a fair trial. No American nor any human on US soil or otherwise under the care of US officials may be tortured or subjected to “advanced interrogation.”

  1. Concerning Self-Incrimination: With the exception of impeachment of a public official, all Citizens shall have the right to silence during any interrogation by law enforcement or prosecution including when compelled to testify in a court of law. Citizens may not be coerced into self incrimination. Citizens must be reminded of this right at the beginning of any interrogation, court proceedings as well as during the time of arrest.

  2. Concerning Consultation: All Citizens shall be entitled to legal representation during any interrogation by law enforcement, during any legal proceedings and in any court of law. Citizens must be reminded of this right at the beginning of any interrogation and court proceedings (provided they do not already have an attorney present) as well as during the time of any arrest.

  3. Concerning Transparency: Any Citizen accused of any crime has the right to be informed of the crime, dispute or wrongdoing they are accused of, as well as the right to face their accuser(s) in a court of law. Citizens have the protection against being tried for a crime ex post facto. Finally, in all cases, laws must be publicly posted and easily accessible; individuals have the right to know the law.

  4. Concerning Defense: All Citizens shall have the right to collect evidence, call witnesses, cross examine witnesses and argue their case in their own defense during any proceedings in a court of law. They have the right to a fair trial determined by a jury of their peers. Jury nullification shall be a guaranteed right for jurors and they must be informed of that right at the beginning of every court case.

  5. Concerning Preliminary Detention: All Citizens have the right of habeus corpus, and if determined to have been detained unlawfully, are entitled to fair restitution. Citizens shall be protected against arbitrary detention or detention without trial. They are entitled to a speedy and public trial.

  6. Concerning Cruel and Unusual Treatment: All citizens shall be protected from double jeopardy. All citizens shall be protected against excessive bail or fine as well as against any physically or psychologically debilitating and unnecessarily degrading punishment, including solitary confinement and the death penalty. No citizen shall be deprived of property or assets without due process of law.

  7. Concerning the Police: The People shall be protected against No Knock Raids. The police shall forfeit all riot and military-grade weapons and equipment including noise cannons, microwave cannons and automatic weapons. Under absolutely no circumstances may a police officer shoot a suspect’s dog. Guns must be used only as a very last resort, and if discharged for any reason the officer must appear before a Popular Assembly (see Section VI) and justify their use of force. Cops must wear body cameras at all times, which feed in real time to a publicly accessible website. Wrongdoing by police shall NOT be investigated by police themselves nor judged by grand juries, and instead are investigated by Prefects and/or the Justice department, then tried by Public Assembly (see Section VI). If a cop is found to have injured, maimed, targeted or killed a person or animal without just cause they shall be held criminally and civilly liable, with any fines or prison time doubled due to the higher standard we hold cops for controlling their behavior. In all situations, a cop’s duty is to deescalate situations and insure no loss of life. Police officers are legally required to protect and serve.

These previously defined seven subdivisions of Comprehensive Individual Autonomy represent the supreme law of the United States, and shall be secure in perpetuity against all threats foreign and domestic. Under no circumstances shall these innate human rights be revoked, repealed, ignored, forgotten or otherwise rendered obsolete by any actor or representative of the United States government. Any future law, ordinance, executive order, treaty or provision which is found to be in conflict with this Bill of Rights shall be recognized as invalid and illegal. The State exists for no other reason if not to guard these Rights for every individual under its legal jurisdiction and within its physical borders. In the event of state encroachment against these Bill of Rights, the People shall have not only the authority but the responsibility to resist and reform said government.

Gaius Gracchus giving a speech
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