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 IV: The Executive Branch of Government
Executive Power shall be delegated from the People into a semi-presidential system, with duties divided between the Presidency, the Consulate as well as their Consular Directorate (Cabinet).
The Presidency: The President of the United States shall be Head of State and Princeps Civitas (First Citizen). Their chief duties are to represent the people and personality of the United States to foreign dignitaries and governments, as well as perform ceremonial functions. The President may not leave the country without the Consul’s approval.
- Role in Government: The President appoints ambassadors and approves the Consul’s choices for Administrators. They can veto laws or motions which only require a simple majority (which then necessitates a 2/3 override) and pardon convicts. The President’s pardon power is limited in that it cannot be used prospectively, in cases of impeachment, or towards past and present Presidents. While the pardon may excuse or commute a sentence, it also does not expunge the conviction from a person’s criminal record, nor protect them from victims seeking civil compensation or restitution. Acceptance of a pardon is considered a declaration of guilt, and a Presidential pardon may only be granted for Federal offenses. (State offenses require the pardon of their respective Governors.) Finally, the President is not allowed to pocket veto legislation, they must take a public stand for or against.
- Signing Statements: Signing Statements are no longer permitted, due to the tendency of Presidents to twist or pervert the meaning of legislation with them.
- Referendums: The President may call for a special binding referendum from the people once every two years during their time in office, as long as said referendums do not alter or conflict with the Constitution.
- Executive Orders: The President signs Executive Orders relating to the appointment or dismissal of civil and military personnel.
- Election: The President is voted in with a national election using a Range voting system. The top ten most popular parties according to membership numbers are guaranteed a spot on the ballot. Any other party or independent candidate may achieve ballot access by obtaining 1,000,000 signatures in a petition. The ballot also allows for three write-in spaces. Every candidate with ballot access must provide a one page summary of their record and/or policies to be included at voting stations with each ballot. If any voter leaves their ballot blank, it is considered a vote for “none of the above” and if this achieves a plurality of the vote total for all Americans, the election is redone the following year with all new candidates. Finally, the candidate with the highest average score wins, but there are several million zero votes weighed in equally towards each candidates’ score to insure a certain quota of widespread support is necessary to win. If there is a tie with regard to the average score in a Presidential election, the candidate with the highest median score wins. If there is still a tie, the one with the highest mode score wins. If somehow there is still a tie even then, the Senate decides.
- Candidate Requirements: To serve as President, one must be a Citizen with a permanent residency for the past 10 years, and be at least 35 years of age. The ten most popular political parties’ candidates are guaranteed to be on the ballot. Less popular parties and independent candidates must receive 1,000,000 signatures to be granted ballot access. (Although candidates which do not meet these requirements may still be written-in by supporters on their own respective ballots.) Prospective candidates may begin collecting signatures the day after the previous election has concluded.
- Term Limits: The President serves for a term of 4 years and may only serve 2 terms total. They are forbidden from serving in any other Federal government position for 10 years after their service has concluded and are barred from accepting lobbying positions for life.
- The office of Vice-President has been abolished. Instead, in the event of a President’s death, the sitting Praetor serves as temporary Acting-President while new elections are held. A Praetor who is unwilling to take on this responsibility may pass it down to the next scheduled Praetor to fulfill.
The Consulate: The Consul of the United States shall be Head of Government and Princeps Senatus (First Senator/Legislator.) Their chief duties are to guide the Curiate in passing legislation and carry out the laws from Congress by directing the actions of the departments, agencies and military.
- Role in Government: The Consul spearheads the legislative agenda of the majority coalition in the Curiate, which they also preside over. They insure a smooth and efficient relationship between legislative guidelines and the actions of Departments and Agencies. They are answerable to the Curiate, who may dismiss them with a comprehensive vote of no confidence.
- Wartime Powers: In times of war, the Consul is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. After the Senate has declared war, it is the Consul’s job to address a joint session of Congress itself and the American people, clearly outlining who the enemy is, what the agenda of the war is, an expected end date and expected budget. If the war goes more than 350% over budget, the Consul and Congress are personally responsible for the debt, and may be subject to impeachment or criminal trials in Federal Court. After the Consul’s address, the people must approve of the war declaration in a popular referendum with at least a 40% participation rate and 3/5 majority vote. The lone exception to the referendum rule is in cases where the country was directly attacked on its own soil. The Consul may not deploy any troops, ships, planes, drones or other offensive forces until a formal Declaration of War has been voted on affirmatively by the Senate, and if applicable, the people. There are no undeclared police actions, tactical strikes, joint-operations with NATO or “peace-keeping” missions allowed.
- Cabinet: The Consul has the right to select the Administrators in the Directorate from within the pool of experts available in the Tribunate where applicable, and with the President’s consent in the cases of outside candidates. They can also appoint up to two Secretaries without Portfolio to advise them.
- Executive Orders: The Consul signs Executive Orders establishing regulations, with the relevant Director(s) and/or Administrator(s) counter-signing. These are subordinate to existing laws and statutes.
- State of the Union Address: At the beginning of every year, the Consul must address a joint session of Congress to outline the condition of the American country, infrastructure and people, in effect laying out the problems ahead that need to be healed. It is then Congress’ job to act upon these issues the rest of the year.
- Candidate Requirements: To serve as Consul, one must be a Citizen with a permanent residency for the past 10 years, and be at least 35 years of age.
- Election: The Consul is selected from within the coalition with the most seats in the Curiate. The party with the most seats, by its own internal processes, puts forth 5 candidates which, along with any independent Septigents in the Curiate, are placed on the Consular ballot. The party with the second highest number of seats in the Curiate puts forth an additional 3 candidates of their own, according to their own internal processes. The party with the third highest number of seats may also put forth a single candidate of their own choosing. Then all members of the Curiate utilize Range Voting and the candidate with the highest average score is the winner.
- Term Limits: The Consul serves until their party loses control of the Curiate or a vote of no confidence is issued and accepted by the President. If the Consul has been censured by the Senate, then the President may also call for a new election where the current Consul may participate and still be reelected. After vacating the office, they are forbidden from accepting the position again or serving in the Curiate for a period of no less than 10 years. They are forbidden from accepting lobbying positions for a period of 15 years after their service is completed.
The Consular Directorate: The Directorate shall be a two-tiered body composed of Directors, who chair the six core Departments, and Administrators, who chair the lesser Agencies. Their chief duties are to serve as the Consul’s Cabinet and carry out his/her directives within the agencies they oversee. No one may accept a Director or Administrator position if there is a conflict of interest–a defense contractor may not be elected Director of the War department, nor an oil company executive accept the position of Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, for example.
- The Directors, and the Departments they head, are based on the original cabinet of Washington: (State, War, Treasury, Justice, Interior, Domestic Intelligence.) Together with the Consul himself they make up the core seven members who must be allowed to sit in on all cabinet meetings. Directors are appointed from within the pool of relevant Tribunes, unless the President approves an outside hire, and then approved by the Senate. If the Senate refuses to hold elections on a nominee within an appropriate period of time, the Tribune itself may hold a vote on the nominee instead. Directors can be dismissed only through a constructive votes of no confidence, with a successor lined up to immediately take their place. Or if they’ve been censured by the Senate, they may be dismissed by the President.
- The Administrators are in charge of the lesser Agencies of the Federal government. They are appointed by the Consul from within the pool of Tribunes (where applicable) or approved by the Senate in cases of outside hires. If the Senate refuses to hold a vote on any nominee within an appropriate amount of time, the Tribunate holds a vote instead. The Administrators are not required to be invited to all cabinet meetings. They also serve at the pleasure of the Consul and may be dismissed at any time. They can also be dismissed in a vote of no-confidence, with the Consul tasked with appointing a successor. Additionally, if they’ve been censured by the Senate, an Administrator can also be dismissed by the President.
- The Consul may also appoint up to 2 Secretaries without Portfolio at a time, who are invited to advise the Consul and sit in on Directorate meetings. They serve at the pleasure of the Consul and may be dismissed at any time.