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. This project was not intended to be disrespectful to the current Constitution, it was meant as 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 image for these posts comes from my love of rabbits. I thought a white rabbit would be an interesting symbol for a grassroots movement as a nod to Alice in Wonderland (“follow the white rabbit”), also rabbits eat grass (so grassroots), 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.
Article VI: The Citizenry as a Branch of Government
The population shall have greater checks against the other branches of the government itself, to insure that they are never taken advantage of again. By acknowledging the people themselves as an official branch in government, the trend towards authoritarianism will be halted or at least severely slowed over time, and the other three branches will never forget whom they serve.
The People may elect two extraordinary magistrates in times of need, who act on their behalf, serve no set terms and may only be compelled to leave office if they themselves determine their work is done or they are recalled by the people. There are also independent election commissions which tally the votes, check electronic machine’s codes and protect online voting security who must share their findings with the people, to be checked and double checked as the people see fit.
Procurators: Have the power to audit any branch, department, agency, program or measure taken by the Federal government. They shall be undeterred by the other branches in fulfillment of this task and free to all relevant information to complete it. They report their findings directly to the people. They are created out of a 3/5 majority vote in a popular referendum, and then an election from within the relevant Tribunes or any outside candidate via Range Voting. They perform an investigation and preliminary audit and then may compel the High Courts to take their investigation further. They are answerable only to the people.
Prefects: A proactive ombudsman tasked with investigating wrongdoing or unconstitutional behavior by any government magistrate, branch, department, agency, program, police force, police officer, initiative or law. They may bring any findings to the relevant Federal Courts or compel the Justice Department to act further, on behalf of the people. The people may call for the appointment of Prefects with a referendum requiring a simply majority vote asking that a clearly defined target be investigated with wrongdoing or unconstitutional conduct. The Prefect is then elected from within the pool of Tribunes or any outside candidates via Range Voting. They are answerable only to the people.
Popular Assembly: Each State must provide the public space for at least five Popular Assemblies, with seating enough for 300 people, where Senators and Septigents must appear at least once a year to answer questions and defend their actions in government. Citizens may use the space to discuss the issues and help raise awareness of or call attention to upcoming elections, petitions or recalls. At the end of their term, every magistrate must stand before at least one Popular Assembly in each of the ten standard federal regions in addition to their home state in order to take questions and defend their actions while in office. Specifically, they must say what they did to fulfill the Pledges of the Bill of Responsibilities (see Article II) and their own campaign promises. If they were not able to achieve their promises, or failed to make progress towards the pledges they were entrusted to act upon, they must answer why. The appearance of magistrates in any Assembly are to be filmed and streamed on CSPAN as well as the American Citizen’s Forum in real time.
American Citizen’s Forum: There shall be a government recognized website where Citizens can discuss the issues, where opinion polls are taken on candidates, magistrates and policies, and both past and present debates as well as speeches are made available for free. The site will function as a central hub for information relevant to the Citizenry, and a message board for them to discuss the state of their government. The actions of all Congressional Houses are streamed to the site in real time and then cataloged for later viewing. Active petitions are held there for electronic signature, as are upcoming election and referendum dates. Each candidate, sitting magistrate and judge has their own page where they may be directly petitioned and rated by the populace, and which shows their donors, lobbyists and voting record.
The People: By themselves, the People may intervene in government in the following ways:
- At every town there must be a public space available at all times for Citizens to give speeches and air grievances.
- A petition with 3 million signatures may demand a binding referendum on a singular policy question or proposing a constitutional amendment. A petition with 1.5 million signatures may compel action or answers from any House of Congress or individual Magistrate. If addressed to a chamber of Congress, it must be read on the floor and (if applicable) put to a vote. If addressed to an individual, they must answer it in person at the Popular Assembly from which the original signatory resides. Their answer must be on camera, and their response uploaded to the American Citizen’s Forum.
- After five years, if a law or government program is still unpopular, the People can revoke it. This requires an initiative of 2 million signatures followed by a referendum in which 40% of the voting age population must participate and a 2/3 supermajority must be reached.
- Magistrates may be recalled if a referendum calling for them to step down passes by a 3/5 majority. 40% of voting age population must participate for the decision to be binding.