Christian States Constitution

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Christian States Constitution
Created February 17, 2012
Ratified July 21, 2012
Location National Archives,
Beaumont, Texas
Authors Austin Convention
Signatories 46 of the 59 delegates

The Constitution of the Christian States is the supreme law of the Union of Christian States. The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles entrench the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress; the executive, consisting of the President; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Articles Four, Five and Six entrench concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments and of the states in relationship to the federal government. Article Seven establishes the procedure subsequently used by the then thirteen States and territory to ratify it.

The Constitution is interpreted, supplemented, and implemented by a large body of constitutional law.

Article One

Article One describes the Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government. Section 1, reads, "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."

The article establishes the manner of election and the qualifications of members of each body. Representatives must be at least 25 years old, be a citizen of the Christian States for seven years, and live in the state they represent. Senators must be at least 30 years old, be a citizen for nine years, and live in the state they represent.

Article I, Section 8 enumerates the legislative powers, which include:

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

Article I, Section 9 lists eight specific limits on congressional power.

The United States Supreme Court has interpreted the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause in Article One to allow Congress to enact legislation that is neither expressly listed in the enumerated power nor expressly denied in the limitations on Congress.

Article Two

Article Two describes the office of the President of the Christian States. The President is head of the executive branch of the federal government, as well as the nation's, head of state and head of government.

The office of the Vice President is also established by Article Two. The Vice President and the President are both elected to serve an identical four year term. Section 1 specifies that the Vice President succeeds to the presidency if the President is removed, unable to discharge the powers and duties of office, dies while in office, or resigns.

In order to qualify to serve as president, a person must be a natural born citizen of the Christian States or a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, at least 35 years old and a resident of the Christian States for at least 14 years.

The President receives Compensation, and this compensation may not be increased or decreased during the president's term in office. The president may not receive other compensation from either the Christian States or any of the individual states. Additionally, every President must take an oath when assuming office, prescribed here in the final clause of the First Section, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

Section 2 grants substantive powers to the president:

  • The president is the Commander in Chief of the Christian States Armed Forces, and of the state militias when these are called into federal service.
  • The president may require opinions of the principal officers of the federal government.
  • The president may grant reprieves and pardons, except in cases of impeachment (i.e., the president cannot pardon himself or herself to escape impeachment by Congress).

Section 2 grants and limits the president's appointment powers:

  • The president may make treaties, with the advice and consent of the Senate, provided two-thirds of the senators who are present agree.
  • With the advice and consent of the Senate, the President may appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the Christian States whose appointments are not otherwise described in the Constitution.
  • Congress may give the power to appoint lower officers to the President alone, to the courts, or to the heads of departments.
  • The president may make any of these appointments during a congressional recess. Such a "recess appointment" expires at the end of the next session of Congress.

Section 3 opens by describing the president's relations with Congress:

  • The president reports on the state of the union.
  • The Recommendation Clause: to recommend to Congress's consideration such measures which the president deems as "necessary and expedient".
  • The president may convene either house, or both houses, of Congress.
  • When the two houses of Congress cannot agree on the time of adjournment, the president may adjourn them to some future date.

Section 3 adds:

  • The president receives ambassadors.
  • The president sees that the laws are faithfully executed.
  • The president commissions all the offices of the federal government.

Section 4 provides for removal of the president and other federal officers. The president is removed on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Article Three

Article Three describes the court system (the judicial branch), including the Supreme Court. There shall be one court called the Supreme Court. The article describes the kinds of cases the court takes as original jurisdiction. Congress can create lower courts and an appeals process. Congress enacts law defining crimes and providing for punishment. Article Three also protects the right to trial by jury in all criminal cases, and defines the crime of treason.

Section 1 vests the judicial power of the Christian States in federal courts. and with it, the authority to interpret and apply the law to a particular case. Also included is the power to punish, sentence, and direct future action to resolve conflicts.

To enforce judicial decisions, the Constitution grants federal courts both criminal contempt and civil contempt powers. The court’s summary punishment for contempt immediately overrides all other punishments applicable to the subject party. Other implied powers include injunctive relief and the habeas corpus remedy. The Court may imprison for contumacy, bad-faith litigation, and failure to obey a writ of mandamus. Judicial power includes that granted by Acts of Congress for rules of law and punishment. Judicial power also extends to areas not covered by statute. Generally, federal courts cannot interrupt state court proceedings.

Clause 1 of Section 2 authorizes the federal courts to hear actual cases and controversies only. Their judicial power does not extend to cases which are hypothetical, or which are proscribed due to standing, mootness, or ripeness issues. Generally, a case or controversy requires the presence of adverse parties who have some interest genuinely at stake in the case. Also required is of broad enough concern in the Court’s jurisdiction that a lower court, either federal or state, does not geographically cover all the existing cases before law. Courts following these guidelines exercise judicial restraint. Those making an exception are said to be judicial activist.

Clause 2 of Section 2 provides that the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in cases involving ambassadors, ministers and consuls, for all cases respecting foreign nation-states, and also in those controversies which are subject to federal judicial power because at least one state is a party. Cases arising under the laws of the Christian States and its treaties come under the jurisdiction of federal courts. Cases under international maritime law and conflicting land grants of different states come under federal courts. Cases between U.C.S. citizens in different states, and cases between U.C.S. citizens and foreign states and their citizens, come under federal jurisdiction. The trials will be in the state where the crime was committed.

Section 3 bars Congress from changing or modifying Federal law on treason by simple majority statute. Treason is also defined in this section. It's not enough merely to think a treasonous thought, there must be an overt act of making war or materially helping those at war with the Christian States. Accusations must be corroborated by at least two witnesses. Congress is a political body and political disagreements routinely encountered should never be considered as treason. This allows for nonviolent resistance to the government because opposition is not a life or death proposition. However, Congress does provide for other less subversive crimes and punishments such as conspiracy.

Article Four

Article Four outlines the relation between the states and the relation between each state and the federal government. In addition, it provides for such matters as admitting new states and border changes between the states. For instance, it requires states to give "full faith and credit" to the public acts, records, and court proceedings of the other states. Congress is permitted to regulate the manner in which proof of such acts, records, or proceedings may be admitted. The "privileges and immunities" clause prohibits state governments from discriminating against citizens of other states in favor of resident citizens.

It also establishes extradition between the states, as well as laying down a legal basis for freedom of movement and travel amongst the states. Article Four also provides for the creation and admission of new states. The Territorial Clause gives Congress the power to make rules for disposing of federal property and governing non-state territories of the Christian States. Finally, the fourth section of Article Four requires the Christian States to guarantee to each state a republican form of government, and to protect the states from invasion and violence.

Article Five

Article Five outlines the process for amending the Constitution.

It guards equally against that extreme facility which would render the Constitution too mutable; and that extreme difficulty which might perpetuate its discovered faults. It moreover equally enables the General and the State Governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other.

There are two steps in the amendment process. Proposals to amend the Constitution must be properly Adopted and Ratified before becoming operative.

A proposed amendment may be adopted and sent to the states for ratification by either:
  • The Christian States Congress, whenever a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives deem it necessary; OR,
  • A national convention, called by Congress for this purpose, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds (presently 11) of the states.
To become part of the Constitution, an adopted amendment must be ratified by either (as determined by Congress):
  • The legislatures of three-fourths (presently 11) of the states; OR,
  • State ratifying conventions in three-fourths (presently 11) of the states.

The decision of which ratification method will be used for any given amendment is Congress' alone to make.

Presently, the Archivist of the Christian States is charged with responsibility for administering the ratification process under the provisions of 1 C.S. Code. The Archivist submits the proposed amendment to the states for their consideration by sending a letter of notification to each Governor. Each Governor then formally submits the amendment to their state's legislature. When a state ratifies a proposed amendment, it sends the Archivist an original or certified copy of the state’s action. Ratification documents are examined by the Office of the Federal Register for facial legal sufficiency and an authenticating signature.

Article Six

Article Six establishes the Constitution, and all federal laws and treaties of the Christian States made according to it, to be the supreme law of the land, and that "the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the laws or constitutions of any state notwithstanding." It requires that all federal and state legislators, officers, and judges take oaths or affirmations to support the Constitution. This means that the states' constitutions and laws should not conflict with the laws of the federal constitution and that in case of a conflict, state judges are legally bound to honor the federal laws and constitution over those of any state.

Article Seven

Article Seven describes the process for establishing the proposed new frame of government. Delegates to the Austin Convention provided for ratification of the Constitution by popularly elected ratifying conventions in each state.

Ratified amendments

A proposed amendment becomes an operative part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the States (currently 11 of the 14 States). There is no further step. The text requires no additional action by Congress or anyone else after ratification by the final state. Thus, when the Office of the Federal Register verifies that it has received the required number of authenticated ratification documents, it drafts a formal proclamation for the Archivist to certify that the amendment is valid and has become part of the nation's frame of government. This certification is published in the Federal Register and Christian States Statutes at Large and serves as official notice to Congress and to the nation that the ratification process has been successfully completed.

Judicial review

The way the Constitution is understood is influenced by court decisions, especially those of the Supreme Court. These decisions are referred to as precedents. Judicial review is the power of the Court to examine federal legislation, federal executive, and all state branches of government, to decide their constitutionality, and to strike them down if found unconstitutional.

Judicial review includes the power of the Court to explain the meaning of the Constitution as it applies to particular cases. Over the years, Court decisions on issues ranging from governmental regulation of radio and television to the rights of the accused in criminal cases have changed the way many constitutional clauses are interpreted, without amendment to the actual text of the Constitution.

Legislation passed to implement the Constitution, or to adapt those implementations to changing conditions, broadens and, in subtle ways, changes the meanings given to the words of the Constitution. Up to a point, the rules and regulations of the many federal executive agencies have a similar effect. If an action of Congress or the agencies is challenged, however, it is the court system that ultimately decides whether these actions are permissible under the Constitution.

The Supreme Court has indicated that once the Constitution has been extended to an area (by Congress or the Courts), its coverage is irrevocable. To hold that the political branches may switch the Constitution on or off at will would lead to a regime in which they, not this Court, say "what the law is."

Scope and theory

Courts established by the Constitution can regulate government under the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. First, they have jurisdiction over actions by an officer of government and state law. Second, federal courts may rule on whether coordinate branches of national government conform to the Constitution.

The basic theory of Christian States Judicial review is summarized by constitutional legal scholars and historians as follows: the written Constitution is fundamental law. It can change only by extraordinary legislative process of national proposal, then state ratification. The powers of all departments are limited to enumerated grants found in the Constitution. Courts are expected (a) to enforce provisions of the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, and (b) to refuse to enforce anything in conflict with it.

Separation of powers

The Supreme Court balances several pressures to maintain its roles in national government. It seeks to be a co-equal branch of government, but its decrees must be enforceable. The Court seeks to minimize situations where it asserts itself superior to either President or Congress, but federal officers must be held accountable. The Supreme Court assumes power to declare acts of Congress as unconstitutional but it self-limits its passing on constitutional questions. But the Court’s guidance on basic problems of life and governance in a democracy is most effective when American political life reinforce its rulings.

Justice Brandeis summarized four general guidelines that the Supreme Court uses to avoid constitutional decisions relating to Congress: The Court will not anticipate a question of constitutional law nor decide open questions unless a case decision requires it. If it does, a rule of constitutional law is formulated only as the precise facts in the case require. The Court will choose statutes or general law for the basis of its decision if it can without constitutional grounds. If it does, the Court will choose a constitutional construction of an Act of Congress, even if its constitutionality is seriously in doubt.

Likewise with the Executive Department, Edwin Corwin observed that the Court does sometimes rebuff presidential pretensions, but it more often tries to rationalize them. Against Congress, an Act is merely "disallowed." In the executive case, exercising judicial review produces "some change in the external world" beyond the ordinary judicial sphere. The "political question" doctrine especially applies to questions which present a difficult enforcement issue. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes addressed the Court’s limitation when political process allowed future policy change, but a judicial ruling would "attribute finality". Political questions lack "satisfactory criteria for a judicial determination."

John Williams recognized that the president holds "important political powers" which as Executive privilege allows great discretion. It extends to the sphere of foreign affairs. Justice Robert Jackson explained, Foreign affairs are inherently political, "wholly confided by our Constitution to the political departments of the government ... [and] not subject to judicial intrusion or inquiry."

Critics of the Court object in two principle ways to self-restraint in judicial review, deferring as it does as a matter of doctrine to Acts of Congress and Presidential actions.

  1. Its inaction is said to allow "a flood of legislative appropriations" which permanently create an imbalance between the states and federal government.
  2. Supreme Court deference to Congress and the executive compromises American protection of civil rights, political minority groups and aliens.