We the People of the Empire of Picairn, in Order to form a more perfect Nation, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Empire of Picairn.
Article 1: Freedom of Expression and Religion
1. All citizens and foreign nationals within the Empire of Picairn shall enjoy the right to free speech, freedom of the Press, freedom to peaceably assemble, and the freedom to petition the Government or any other organization for a redress of grievances. All laws, regulations, charters or restrictions violating these freedoms, shall be declared null and void.
2. Every citizen and foreign national shall have the right to practice any religion of their choosing, or maintain a lack thereof. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. No religious test shall be required to hold public office in the Empire of Picairn. No law shall be passed with a religious code as the sole basis for its existence.
Article 2: Right to Bear Arms
The existence of an armed citizenry, being necessary for the survival and security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed, except on the basis of mental illness or criminal background.
Article 3: Prohibition of Discrimination
1. No discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religious belief, sexual identity or orientation, culture, or national origin shall exist within the jurisdiction of Picairn.
2. Discrimination based on physical or intellectual ability, whereas it is necessary to adequately perform needed tasks; or religious discrimination within explicitly religious organizations, is legal.
Article 4: Search and Seizure
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.
Article 5: Rights of Persons
1. 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, or in the Militia, 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.
2. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Article 6: Due Process
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 favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Article 7: Right to Trials by Jury
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed one hundred dollars, 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 United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Article 8: Banishment of Slavery
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the Empire of Picairn, or any place subject to its jurisdiction.
Article 9: Universal Suffrage
Any citizen, regardless of race, gender, religious belief or sexual orientation, who has reached the age of eighteen years and beyond shall enjoy the right to vote in any local, regional, or national election.
Article 10: Unenumerated Rights
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Article 11: The Emperor shall be the symbol of the State and of the unity of the People, deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power.
Article 12: The Imperial Throne shall be dynastic and succeeded to in accordance with the Imperial Palace Law passed by the Parliament.
Article 13: The advice and consent of the Cabinet shall be required for all acts of the Emperor in matters of state, and the Cabinet shall be responsible therefor.
Article 14: The Emperor shall perform only such acts in matters of state as are provided for in this Constitution and he shall not have powers related to government.
The Emperor may delegate the performance of his acts in matters of state as may be provided by law.
Article 15: When, in accordance with the Imperial Palace Law, a Regency is established, the Regent shall perform his acts in matters of state in the Emperor's name. In this case, paragraph one of the preceding article will be applicable.
Article 16: The Emperor shall appoint the Prime Minister as designated by the Parliament.
The Emperor shall appoint the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as designated by the House of Lords. The Prime Minister shall appoint the Cabinet ministers from elected members of the House of Representatives and from the House of Lords.
Article 17: The Emperor, with the advice and approval of the Cabinet, shall perform the following acts in matters of state on behalf of the people:
Promulgation of amendments of the constitution, laws, cabinet orders and treaties.
Convocation of the Parliament.
Dissolution of the House of Representatives.
Proclamation of general election of members of the House of Representatives.
Attestation of the appointment and dismissal of Ministers of State and other officials as provided for by law, and of full powers and credentials of Ambassadors and Ministers.
Attestation of general and special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.
Awarding of honors.
Attestation of instruments of ratification and other diplomatic documents as provided for by law.
Receiving foreign ambassadors and ministers.
Performance of ceremonial functions.
Article 18: No property can be given to, or received by, the Imperial Palace, nor can any gifts be made therefrom, without the authorization of the Parliament.
Article 19: The Parliament shall be the highest organ of state power, and shall be the sole law-making organ of the State.
Article 20: The Parliament shall consist of two Houses, namely the House of Representatives and the House of Lords.
Article 21: Only the House of Representatives shall consist of elected members, representative of all the people. The House of Lords shall be appointed by the Emperor from the nobility of Picairn. The number of the members of each House shall be fixed by law.
Article 22: The qualifications of members of both Houses and their electors shall be fixed by law. However, there shall be no discrimination because of race, creed, sex, social status, family origin, education, property or income.
Article 23: The term of office of members of the House of Representatives shall be four years. However, the term shall be terminated before the full term is up in case the House of Representatives is dissolved.
Article 24: The term of office of members of the House of Lords shall be a single, non-renewable term of twelve years. Every four years, one-third of the House shall be subjected to reappointment.
Article 25: Electoral districts, method of voting and other matters pertaining to the method of election of members of the House of Representatives shall be fixed by law.
Article 26: No person shall be permitted to be a member of both Houses simultaneously.
Article 27: Members of both Houses shall receive appropriate annual payment from the national treasury in accordance with law.
Article 28: Except in cases provided by law, members of both Houses shall be exempt from apprehension while the Parliament is in session, and any members apprehended before the opening of the session shall be freed during the term of the session upon demand of the House.
Article 29: Members of both Houses shall not be held liable outside the House for speeches, debates or votes cast inside the House.
Article 30: An ordinary session of the Parliament shall be convoked once per year.
Article 31: The Cabinet may determine to convoke extraordinary sessions of the Parliament. When a quarter or more of the total members of either House makes the demand, the Cabinet must determine on such convocation.
Article 32: When the House of Representatives is dissolved, there must be a general election of members of the House of Representatives within forty (40) days from the date of dissolution, and the Parliament must be convoked within thirty (30) days from the date of the election.
When the House of Representatives is dissolved, the House of Lords is closed at the same time. However, the Cabinet may in time of national emergency convoke the House of Lords in emergency session.
Measures taken at such session as mentioned in the proviso of the preceding paragraph shall be provisional and shall become null and void unless agreed to by the House of Representatives within a period of ten (10) days after the opening of the next session of the Parliament.
Article 33: Each House shall judge disputes related to qualifications of its members. However, in order to deny a seat to any member, it is necessary to pass a resolution by a majority of two-thirds or more of the members present.
Article 34: Business cannot be transacted in either House unless one-third or more of total membership is present.
All matters shall be decided, in each House, by a majority of those present, except as elsewhere provided in the Constitution, and in case of a tie, the presiding officer shall decide the issue.
Article 35: Deliberation in each House shall be public. However, a secret meeting may be held where a majority of two-thirds or more of those members present passes a resolution therefor.
Each House shall keep a record of proceedings. This record shall be published and given general circulation, excepting such parts of proceedings of secret session as may be deemed to require secrecy.
Upon demand of one-fifth or more of the members present, votes of the members on any matter shall be recorded in the minutes.
Article 36: Each House shall select its own president and other officials.
Each House shall establish its rules pertaining to meetings, proceedings and internal discipline, and may punish members for disorderly conduct. However, in order to expel a member, a majority of two-thirds or more of those members present must pass a resolution thereon.
Article 37: A bill becomes a law on passage by both Houses, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution.
A bill which is passed by the House of Representatives, and upon which the House of Lords makes a decision different from that of the House of Representatives, becomes a law when passed a second time by the House of Representatives by a majority of two-thirds or more of the members present.
The provision of the preceding paragraph does not preclude the House of Representatives from calling for the meeting of a joint committee of both Houses, provided for by law.
Failure by the House of Lords to take final action within sixty (60) days after receipt of a bill passed by the House of Representatives, time in recess excepted, may be determined by the House of Representatives to constitute a rejection of the said bill by the House of Lords.
Article 38: The budget must first be submitted to the House of Representatives.
Upon consideration of the budget, when the House of Lords makes a decision different from that of the House of Representatives, and when no agreement can be reached even through a joint committee of both Houses, provided for by law, or in the case of failure by the House of Lords to take final action within thirty (30) days, the period of recess excluded, after the receipt of the budget passed by the House of Representatives, the decision of the House of Representatives shall be the decision of the Parliament.
Article 39: The second paragraph of the preceding article applies also to the Parliament's approval required for the conclusion of treaties.
Article 40: Each House may conduct investigations in relation to government, and may demand the presence and testimony of witnesses, and the production of records.
Article 41: The Prime Minister and other Ministers of State may, at any time, appear in either House for the purpose of speaking on bills, regardless of whether they are members of the House or not. They must appear when their presence is required in order to give answers or explanations.
Article 42: The Parliament shall set up an impeachment court from among the members of both Houses for the purpose of trying those judges against whom removal proceedings have been instituted.
Matters relating to impeachment shall be provided by law.
Article 43: Executive power shall be vested in the Cabinet.
Article 44: The Cabinet shall consist of the Prime Minister, who shall be its head, and other Ministers of State, as provided for by law.
The Prime Minister and other Ministers of State must be civilians.
The Cabinet, in the exercise of executive power, shall be collectively responsible to the Parliament.
Article 45: The Prime Minister shall be designated from among the members of the Parliament by a resolution of the Parliament. This designation shall precede all other business.
If the House of Representatives and the House of Lords disagree and if no agreement can be reached even through a joint committee of both Houses, provided for by law, or the House of Lords fails to make designation within ten (10) days, exclusive of the period of recess, after the House of Representatives has made designation, the decision of the House of Representatives shall be the decision of the Parliament.
Article 46: The Prime Minister shall appoint the Ministers of State. However, a majority of their number must be chosen from among the members of the Parliament.
The Prime Minister may remove the Ministers of State as he chooses.
Article 47: If the House of Representatives passes a no-confidence resolution, or rejects a confidence resolution, the Cabinet shall resign en masse, unless the House of Representatives is dissolved within ten (10) days.
Article 48: When there is a vacancy in the post of Prime Minister, or upon the first convocation of the Parliament after a general election of members of the House of Representatives, the Cabinet shall resign en masse.
Article 49: In the cases mentioned in the two preceding articles, the Cabinet shall continue its functions until the time when a new Prime Minister is appointed.
Article 50: The Prime Minister, representing the Cabinet, submits bills, reports on general national affairs and foreign relations to the Parliament and exercises control and supervision over various administrative branches.
Article 51: The Cabinet, in addition to other general administrative functions, shall perform the following functions:
Administer the law faithfully; conduct affairs of state.
Manage foreign affairs.
Conclude treaties. However, it shall obtain prior or, depending on circumstances, subsequent approval of the Parliament.
Administer the civil service, in accordance with standards established by law.
Prepare the budget, and present it to the Parliament.
Enact cabinet orders in order to execute the provisions of this Constitution and of the law. However, it cannot include penal provisions in such cabinet orders unless authorized by such law.
Decide on general amnesty, special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.
Article 52: All laws and cabinet orders shall be signed by the competent Minister of State and countersigned by the Prime Minister.
Article 53: The Ministers of State, during their tenure of office, shall not be subject to legal action without the consent of the Prime Minister. However, the right to take that action is not impaired hereby.
Article 54: The whole judicial power is vested in a Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as are established by law.
No extraordinary tribunal shall be established, nor shall any organ or agency of the Executive be given final judicial power.
All judges shall be independent in the exercise of their conscience and shall be bound only by this Constitution and the laws.
Article 55: The Supreme Court is vested with the rule-making power under which it determines the rules of procedure and of practice, and of matters relating to attorneys, the internal discipline of the courts and the administration of judicial affairs.
Public procurators shall be subject to the rule-making power of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court may delegate the power to make rules for inferior courts to such courts.
Article 56: Judges shall not be removed except by public impeachment unless judicially declared mentally or physically incompetent to perform official duties. No disciplinary action against judges shall be administered by any executive organ or agency.
Article 57: The Supreme Court shall consist of a Chief Justice and such number of judges as may be determined by law; all such judges except the Chief Justice shall be appointed by the Cabinet.
The appointment of the judges of the Supreme Court shall be reviewed by the people at the first general election of members of the House of Representatives following their appointment, and shall be reviewed again at the first general election of members of the House of Representatives after a lapse of ten (10) years, and in the same manner thereafter.
In cases mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, when the majority of the Parliament favors the dismissal of a judge, he shall be dismissed.
Matters pertaining to review shall be prescribed by law.
The judges of the Supreme Court shall be retired upon the attainment of the age as fixed by law.
All such judges shall receive, at regular stated intervals, adequate compensation which shall not be decreased during their terms of office.
Article 58: The judges of the inferior courts shall be appointed by the Cabinet from a list of persons nominated by the Supreme Court. All such judges shall hold office for a term of ten (10) years with privilege of reappointment, provided that they shall be retired upon the attainment of the age as fixed by law.
The judges of the inferior courts shall receive, at regular stated intervals, adequate compensation which shall not be decreased during their terms of office.
Article 59: The Supreme Court is the court of last resort with power to determine the constitutionality of any law, order, regulation or official act.
Article 60: Trials shall be conducted and judgement declared publicly.
Where a court unanimously determines publicity to be dangerous to public order or morals, a trial may be conducted privately, but trials of political offenses, offenses involving the press or cases wherein the rights of people as guaranteed in Chapter I of this Constitution are in question shall always be conducted publicly.
Article 61: The power to administer national finances shall be exercised as the Parliament shall determine.
Article 62: No new taxes shall be imposed or existing ones modified except by law or under such conditions as law may prescribe.
Article 63: No money shall be expended, nor shall the State obligate itself, except as authorized by the Parliament.
Article 64: The Cabinet shall prepare and submit to the Parliament for its consideration and decision a budget for each fiscal year.
Article 65: In order to provide for unforeseen deficiencies in the budget, a reserve fund may be authorized by the Parliament to be expended upon the responsibility of the Cabinet.
The Cabinet must get subsequent approval of the Parliament for all payments from the reserve fund.
Article 66: All property of the Imperial Palace shall belong to the State. All expenses of the Imperial Palace shall be appropriated by the Parliament in the budget.
Article 67: No public money or other property shall be expended or appropriated for the use, benefit or maintenance of any religious institution or association, or for any charitable, educational or benevolent enterprises not under the control of public authority.
Article 68: Final accounts of the expenditures and revenues of the State shall be audited annually by a Board of Audit and submitted by the Cabinet to the Parliament, together with the statement of audit, during the fiscal year immediately following the period covered.
The organization and competency of the Board of Audit shall be determined by law.
Article 69: At regular intervals and at least annually the Cabinet shall report to the Parliament and the people on the state of national finances.
Article 70: Regulations concerning organization and operations of local public entities shall be fixed by law in accordance with the principle of local autonomy.
Article 71: The local public entities shall establish assemblies as their deliberative organs, in accordance with law.
The chief executive officers of all local public entities, the members of their assemblies, and such other local officials as may be determined by law shall be elected by direct popular vote within their several communities.
Article 72: Local public entities shall have the right to manage their property, affairs and administration and to enact their own regulations within law.
Article 73: A special law, applicable only to one local public entity, cannot be enacted by the Parliament without the consent of the majority of the voters of the local public entity concerned, obtained in accordance with law.
Article 74: Amendments to this Constitution shall be initiated by the Parliament, through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each House and shall thereupon be submitted to the people for ratification, which shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of all votes cast thereon, at a special referendum or at such election as the Parliament shall specify. Amendments when so ratified shall immediately be promulgated by the Emperor in the name of the people, as an integral part of this Constitution.
Article 75: The fundamental human rights by this Constitution guaranteed to the people of Picairn are fruits of the age-old struggle of man to be free; they have survived the many exacting tests for durability and are conferred upon this and future generations in trust, to be held for all time inviolate.
Article 76: This Constitution shall be the supreme law of the nation and no law, ordinance, imperial rescript or other acts of government, or part thereof, contrary to the provisions hereof, shall have legal force or validity.
The treaties concluded by Picairn and established laws of nations shall be faithfully observed.
Article 77: The Emperor or the Regent as well as Ministers of State, members of the Parliament, judges, and all other public officials have the obligation to respect and uphold this Constitution.
Article 78: This Constitution shall be enforced as from the day when the period of six months will have elapsed counting from the day of its promulgation.
The enactment of laws necessary for the enforcement of this Constitution, the election of members of the House of Representatives and the procedure for the convocation of the Parliament and other preparatory procedures necessary for the enforcement of this Constitution may be executed before the day prescribed in the preceding paragraph.
Article 79: If the House of Lords is not constituted before the effective date of this Constitution, the House of Representatives shall function as the Parliament until such time as the House of Lords shall be constituted.
Article 80: The Ministers of State, members of the House of Representatives and judges in office on the effective date of this Constitution, and all other public officials who occupy positions corresponding to such positions as are recognized by this Constitution shall not forfeit their positions automatically on account of the enforcement of this Constitution unless otherwise specified by law. When, however, successors are elected or appointed under the provisions of this Constitution, they shall forfeit their positions as a matter of course.
Article 81: Effective Date of Constitutional Amendments (ratified May 1795)
1. All constitutional amendments henceforth shall immediately be in effect after a transitionary period of one year.
2. The Parliament shall have the power to make laws in accordance with the amendments and enforce the aforementioned laws.
Article 82: Merit Selection of Judges (ratified October 1854)
1. An independent committee, henceforth shall be known as the Judicial Appointment Commission, shall be created for the purposes of choosing qualified candidates for the courts and recommending them to the Parliament.
2. The Judicial Appointment Commission shall consist of seven members. Three attorney members shall be appointed for six-year terms by the governing body of the organized national bar. Three non-attorney members shall be appointed for six-year terms by the Prime Minister subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session. Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term in like manner. Appointments shall be made with due consideration to area representation and without regard to political affiliation. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall be ex-officio the seventh member and chairman of the Commission. No member of the Commission, except the Chief Justice, may hold any other office or position of profit under the Empire. The Commission shall act by concurrence of four or more members and according to rules which it adopts.
3. The Emperor shall fill any vacancy in an office of Supreme Court justice or inferior court judge by appointing one of two or more persons nominated by the Commission, subject to confirmation by a majority of the Senate.
4. Supreme Court justices and judges of the inferior courts shall be citizens of Picairn, licensed to practice law in the Empire, and possessing any additional qualifications prescribed by law.
5. Justices and judges shall be retired at the age of seventy except as provided in this article. The basis and amount of retirement pay shall be prescribed by law. Retired judges shall render no further service on the bench except for special assignments as provided by court rule.
6. Supreme Court justices and judges of the inferior courts while holding office may not practice law, hold office in a political party, or hold any other office or position of profit under the Empire or its political subdivisions. Any Supreme Court justice or judge of an inferior court filing for another elective public office forfeits his judicial position.
7. The Parliament shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Article 83: Right to Be Forgotten (ratified August 2012)
1. Every data subject, who is currently a Picairnian citizen, shall have the right to obtain from the controller the erasure of personal data concerning him or her without undue delay and the controller shall have the obligation to erase personal data without undue delay.
2. The Parliament shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Article 84: Ban on Forced Prisoner Labor (ratified July 2020)
1. All kinds of forced prisoner labor, for any purposes, are hereby forbidden across the Empire of Picairn's jurisdiction. Such labor shall be replaced with paid labor, where incarcerated inmates shall be allowed to earn market wages and enjoy safe working conditions.
2. The Parliament shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.