The Imperial Charter: Section Six

…continued from part five.

SECTION VI: THE CURIA

Article I: Functions of the Curia

The functions and powers of the Curia shall comprise the following:

  • To hold itself, and vest lesser Curial courts with, the judiciary and mediary right and authority over all cases brought by or against citizen-shareholders, subjects, or coadunations of the Empire, or within Imperial territory, or within Imperial control in lands without sovereignty, or in time of war; and to act as a court of final appeal for all such cases;
  • To adjudicate, mediate and rule upon disputes at law between constituent nations of the Empire and demesnes of different nations thereof.
  • To regularly review the body of Imperial statute law to determine whether any particular law or decision has become obsolete or defective in serving the purposes intended; and to make recommendations to the Senate accordingly for repeal, amendment or replacement.
  • To regularly review the body of Imperial case law to draw up recommended translations of precedent into statute law; and to make recommendations to the Senate accordingly for amendment or replacement.
  • To give opinions and rulings upon request upon any legal question arising under Imperial law.
  • To constitute such Courts as shall be necessary for the administration of justice and mediation throughout the Empire; and to regulate their operation.

Article II: Jurisdiction

The Curia shall have original jurisdiction over legal cases arising between nations of the Empire, legal cases taking place outside national jurisdictions, to which the Empire or a nation of the Empire is a party, or any litigation based on events occurring in territory under the control of the Empire, but not incorporated into any nation of the Empire.

The Curia shall further have mandatory and overriding jurisdiction in all cases arising under this Charter, and appellate jurisdiction over all cases under the Charters of the nations of the Empire.

The Curia shall constitute a court of highest appeal, and its decisions shall be binding on all parties involved in all cases, actions and litigation brought before it. Advisory opinions on any issue within its jurisdictions may be requested by the Imperial Couple, the Senate, or any interested party.

Article III: Charter Review

The Curia shall be informed of all Acts of the Senate and Edicts of the Imperial Couple, and shall review them for consistency with this Charter; and any Act or Edict found inconsistent therewith shall be, in its entirety, null and void.

Article IV: Composition of the Curia

The judiciary authority of the Curia shall be vested in a panel of five Ephors, of equal seniority; the first of whom shall be appointed by the Imperial Couple upon their ascending the Throne, and subsequently who shall select themselves three successors to any Ephor who resigns or is removed from his position, and these names shall be submitted to the Imperial Couple for final determination. and the Ephors shall be dedicated law-bound artificial intelligences vested with the complete predicate form of this Charter and the statute law of the Empire, and this form of the law shall be definitive and binding.

An Ephor of the Curia shall have at least seventy-two years of judicial experience in the courts of the Empire or its nations; and shall not have been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor of moral turpitude.

(The strikeouts and boldface in this article reflect the Tenth Amendment, “Cyberjudiciary”, passed after the development and many successful implementations of dedicated savant AIs. This amendment replaced the previous Ephors of the Curia with dedicated law-bound artificial intelligences, thus guaranteeing the impartial application of law at the highest level. This, thus, initiated the age of cyberjudiciary. Over time following the passage of the amendment, the judges of the lesser Curial courts were likewise replaced. The passage of this amendment additionally marks the translation of the Charter into the predicate-logic form used by such judicial machines.)

Article V: Lesser Courts

The Curia shall create, subsume, amend and organize as it shall see fit such lesser courts throughout the Empire as shall be necessary for the proper execution of the judiciary and mediary functions, and for every citizen-shareholder of the Empire to have full recourse to law, and shall vest these Curial courts with such judicial and mediary right and authority as it shall deem necessary; and the Ephors of the Curia shall appoint and remove judges to these lesser Curial courts as they shall see fit.

Article VI: Censorship

The Curia shall have the power and authority to examine and investigate the members of the Senate, upon probable cause, for felonies; for misdemeanors of moral turpitude; and for undeclared conflicts of private interests with the fiduciary obligations of government; and to censure such Senators and proscribe them from sitting.

Article VII: Impeachment

An Ephor of the Curia may be removed for cause, by the process of impeachment, which, to be placed in process by the Senate, shall require a substantive vote of each Chamber; such shall place the case for impeachment before the Imperial Couple for their decision, upon which the impeachment shall take effect or be voided.

Article VIII: Legal Proceedings

The Curia and all Curial courts shall hold equitable and impartial trials, and within a reasonable time; and these trials shall be released to the public eye upon their completion, except on such occasions and to the least extent that the public safety shall demand secrecy.

Article IX: Public Library of Law

The Curia shall maintain a library containing the entire codified statute law of the Empire, and such precedents as are not yet part of the statute law; and shall provide for such instrumentalities as are necessary for every citizen-shareholder of the Empire to have access to this library, in order that they may have full knowledge of their rights, responsibilities, and obligations under the law.

Article X: Sacrosanctity

No Ephor of the Curia shall be subject to arrest, save for treason or other felony, in going to, or returning from, the Curia’s place of meeting, or whilst the Curia is in session, or is called to session, nor shall they then be subject to service of writs; their persons shall be sacrosanct at these times.

The Ephors shall not be liable for any judgment made, or statements given in debate within the Curia, nor shall any such judgment or statement give rise to any action in law, save only an action in respect of judgment violating the bounds of this Charter.

…continued in part seven.

The Imperial Charter: Section Five

…continued from part four. Probably worth noting that this section obviously interacts heavily with the following two sections, Six being the Curia and Seven the Senate, so if any questions you may have concern how the various branches interact, you may well find the answer there.

SECTION V: THE IMPERIAL COUPLE

Article I: Functions of the Imperial Couple

The right of coronargyr over the entire Empire, and consequently the full Imperial Mandate, shall be vested in an Emperor and Empress both, who together shall maintain the title and powers until their death, or until they shall see fit to resign the Throne. Never shall one rule alone.

The functions and powers of the Imperial Couple shall comprise the following:

  • To implement and execute the system of government of the Empire as defined in this Charter, and in the codified system of statute law.
  • To prepare and enact detailed legislation in any and all areas of authority of the Imperial government, as defined in this Charter; and to amend or repeal such laws as are deemed necessary.
  • To review, and then enact, amend, repeal, veto, or return, with their comments, for further consideration such legislation as the Senate considers appropriate to submit for their enacture.
  • To make such decrees as they deem necessary to handle circumstances for which no legislation provides.
  • To convene special sessions of the Senate as they deem necessary.
  • To address at any time any of the Chambers of the Senate or the entire Senate assembled (One common use of this right is the “position speeches” which many Imperial Couples make, especially early in their reigns, outlining their positions and intentions on various issues; but while these are often made, they are not required. — ed.), and for this purpose require the presence of the Senators; and to send messages to any Chamber of the Senate, whether with respect to a measure then before the Senate or otherwise, and a Chamber to which any message is so sent shall, with all dispatch, consider any matter required by the message to be taken into consideration.
  • To supervise the Imperial Household and the instrumentalities thereof.
  • To supervise the Imperial Service, and all of the ministries thereof; and to create, alter, and abolish such ministries and instrumentalities of the Imperial Service as may be needed for the best functioning of the government, in accordance with the specific provisions of this Charter.
  • To nominate, select, and remove the ministers of the Imperial Service in accordance with the provisions of this Charter, and as specified in measures enacted in the codified system of statute law.
  • To prepare and submit annually to the Senate a comprehensive budget for the Empire, and therein to appropriate and allocate funds for all the functions and operations of the Imperial government.
  • To instruct the Curia to carry out formal enquiries.
  • With the advice and consent of the Senate, to accredit ambassadors and other diplomatic officers to foreign polities; and to receive those representatives of foreign polities appointed to the Empire.
  • To exercise the supreme command of the Empire’s instrumentalities of warfare and security.

But the Imperial Couple shall not have the power to dissolve the Senate or any Chamber thereof; nor to prevent the Curia from deciding issues of Charter law as it shall see fit; nor to act in defiance of the Charter law as decided by the Curia.

Article II: Chartered Limitation

The Imperial Couple shall not at any time alter, suspend, abridge or infringe any provision of this Charter by any edict, executive order, or device of executive privilege.

Article III: Council of the Star

The Imperial Couple shall be advised by the Council of the Star, consisting of the Imperial Shadow (A position not explained in further depth in the Charter, but rather left to the traditions of Cestian, Silver Crescent, and Veranthyran nobility, in which a royal or noble “shadow” was the noble in question’s most trusted adviser, executive, and second-in-command, with special privileges to challenge the noble’s thoughts and decisions, and if necessary, act as a check on their actions. Thus, the “Imperial Shadow” is a second couple who occupy this position in re the Imperial Couple. — ed.), the senior officer of the Imperial Household, the Ministers of the Throne of the Imperial Service, and those others whom they shall see fit to appoint, providing that the number of those appointed shall not exceed the number of the Ministers of the Throne.

Article IV: Fons Honorum

The Imperial Couple, as fons honorum, have sole power to grant letters patent and letters of enfeoffment; to grant and bestow orders of special privilege for the Empire; and to present Imperial honors.

Article V: Executive Privilege

The Imperial Couple may alter, suspend, or abridge any legislation enacted by the Empire under the authority of this Charter by decree for a period no longer than one month, for the protection of the state. Before this period elapses, the decree must be brought before the Senate, and there confirmed or vacated. If the Imperial Couple fails to bring the decree before the Senate within one month, it is automatically vacated.

Article VI: Impeachment

The Imperial Couple may be removed for cause, by the process of impeachment, which, to be placed in process by the Senate, shall require a substantive vote of each Chamber; such shall place the case for impeachment before the Curia for their final ruling, upon which the impeachment shall take effect or be voided.

When an Imperial Couple is removed by impeachment, the Senate shall examine the chosen and acknowledged Heirs, and if it shall find them satisfactory, and if they shall have been passed at the highest degree of rationality by the Eupraxic Collegium, the succession shall be allowed; and if it shall not, the Senate shall designate the next recipient of the Imperial right and authority, under the same conditions as the choice of a formally acknowledged Heir.

(Boldface is the Eleventh Amendment, again. — ed.)

Article VII: Legislative Veto

When the Imperial Couple enact, amend, or repeal legislation on their own authority, the Senate shall have the right, by a substantive vote, to veto such legislation and thereby prevent its enacture.

Article VIII: Annual Statement

The Imperial Couple shall, on the date each year on which the legislative session begins, present to the Senate and to the citizen-shareholders of the Empire a full and complete statement of the affairs of the Empire over the preceding year, and an accounting of its current state (Most also take the opportunity to outline the policies they intend to pursue for the coming year. — ed.).

Article IX: Sacrosanctity

The persons of the Imperial Couple shall be sacrosanct and inviolable; while they are invested with coronargyr, no authority or force may be levied against them, save that they shall first have been removed from the Throne; and having resigned or been removed from the Throne, no action in law against them for any action which they shall have undertaken within the Imperial right and authority (This means “as a legitimate part of their administration”, not “any action taken while they were on the Throne”. — ed.) shall succeed, save only an action in respect of legislation or action outside the bounds of this Charter.

Article X: Succession and Incapacitation

Upon the death or permanent incapacity of one of the Imperial Couple, or their abdication of the Imperial throne, the right and authority shall pass to the heirs chosen from among the Imperial family, provided that the chosen Couple shall have been publicly acknowledged as the rightful Heirs, provided that they shall have been passed at the highest degree of rationality by the Eupraxic Collegium, provided that they shall be Aspects of the Eldraeic Transcend, and providing that there are no extraordinary conditions which would render the Heirs unfit to maintain the Empire. Until the Heirs shall ascend the throne, the survivor of the former Imperial Couple shall act as Regent; if such does not exist, the former Imperial Shadow shall act as Regent for this time.

If the Imperial Couple dies having provided no heirs either by blood or by adoption, or if no Heirs are found fit to maintain the Empire, the Senate shall have the power to designate the next recipient of the Imperial right and authority, by a substantive vote, and an aisymnetes shall act as Regent until this can be decided; until the aisymnetes can be appointed, the President of the Senate shall act as Regent. Should the Senate find it necessary to exercise this, the one designated as aisymnetes shall be an Imperial-born citizen-shareholder of the Empire, passed at the highest degree of rationality by the Eupraxic Collegium, and an Aspect of the Eldraeic Transcend.

Upon the temporary incapacity of the Imperial Couple, and such incapacity has been communicated in writing to the President of the Senate by either the Imperial Couple themselves, or by the Imperial Shadow and a majority of the Council of the Star, the Imperial Shadow shall act as Regent, until the incapacity is removed, and this is likewise communicated in writing; and the Senate may and shall provide by law for the simultaneous incapacity of both the Imperial Couple and the Imperial Shadow.

(Boldface above is from the Eleventh and Twelfth Amendments, of which more later.)

…continued in part six.

On Secession

I note that there are no provisions here for secession of nations. Oversight, deliberate, or covered elsewhere by other provisions and principles?

Ah, secession. Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Ultimately, the problem here is ontological. Specifically, while we’re used to (and our nation-states are, in many ways, used to) thinking of themselves as lumps of sovereign territory that happen to have people living on them, the Empire thinks of itself (because of its origin as a union of polities that were themselves outgrowths of overlapping PPLs) as a compact between sophonts that happen to live on huge tracts of land.

To an Earth nation, sovereignty (over territory and all that happens therein) is a Westphalian fundamental. To the Empire, and those others that follow its pattern, sovereignty is a bundle of a few specialized property rights which it acquires, often purchasing, over the territory in which its subscribers are domiciled for the sake of ease of administration. It’s a distinctly secondary matter, enough so that there’s a serious if minority Senate branch (the Disillusionist Tendency) that firmly believes getting into the whole sovereign-rights-management business back when the PPLs transitioned into the Old Empires was a terrible misstep that should be corrected forthwith – and doing so would leave the Empire still there.

A secondary complication is that what makes one an Imperial citizen-shareholder is signing the Imperial Charter and purchasing a citizen-share. That’s it. Something that is both (a) entirely disconnected from where you might happen to be domiciled (permanent non-resident citizenships are a thing, even), and which (b) is an individual contract, not a collective contract.

The combination of these things makes secession a hideously complicated problem. For one thing, it’s easy enough for a nation here to decide to secede, what with collective decision-making and territorial sovereignty, but citizenship there is a matter of individual contract with the Empire, which any would-be secessionist nation, even a former constituent nation entire, has no power to break. And I would deem it very unlikely that the Empire is going to kick out citizen-shareholders who want to remain such, even if it could find a way to weasel that through as “due process of law”, which is itself very doubtful.

So the secessionists are going to end up with a whole bunch of permanent residents with Imperial citizenship scattered through their territory, and all the galaxy knows how the Empire tends to react when someone abuses, expropriates, or otherwise mistreats their citizen-shareholders. (That is, after all, one of the things that makes it a premium citizenship brand.)

And then there’s the question of those sovereign rights, which the Empire technically has paid for, one way or another, and thus owns. And, as a several matter from citizenship, has no particular obligation to sell just because the people who own other property rights over the same volume have changed citizenship; people and volume aren’t tied together.

But even in the best case, when the secession is amicable and the secessionists are more than happy to buy those rights back from the Exchequer: Is the Empire going to sell the sovereign rights of its citizen-shareholders out from underneath them to a governance that obviously wants to do things that the Empire doesn’t approve of (whatever it’s seceding over), technically several or no? I do not think so, somehow – and that’s assuming that there isn’t a held-in-trust clause in there that means they can’t sell them to anyone but the holder of the ownership right anyway.

At which point, whether it keeps them or returns them to the holder of the ownership right, the map of this seceded territory is starting to look downright fractal.

(Bear in mind that with the exception of that extremely circumscribed eminent domain clause, it’s not like the Empire has the power to force anyone to move if they don’t want to. If Citizen Lived-In-This-House-300-Years-And-Dammit-I-Ain’t-Movin’ declines to go voluntarily, then he has just created an Imperial Exclave the size of his yard and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it. Short of starting a war.)

So, to sum up my summing up, it’s deliberate in the sense that this was a giant can of worms which everyone greatly preferred not trying to solve, especially at the birth of a new empire of ecumenical ambition.

Besides, why would anyone ever want to leave anyway?

 

Trope-a-Day: Citadel City

Citadel City: Oh, there have been many of these in the past. Eliéra was a friendly world, in many ways, but not that friendly, and much of history has not been as peaceful as the modern Empire. But to choose one? They speak of glacier-bound Miragrann, paranoid-built, with fortifications as much against ice and weather as invaders; of cliff-carved Stonesmight and the Granite Gates of Azikhan; of the Seat of Storms perched in the thin air of its mountain peak; the spiral walls of Cileädrin and the living-wood mazes of Verdancy; the cavern harbors of Ethring; the ancient diamond bastions of Ellenith set amid its crater labyrinth, and a dozen more…

Most, of course, buried deep within suburbs and arcologies in the modern era, but yet the defenses remain.

(The conspicuous exception being Calmiríë itself, which never had any walls or other fixed defenses until later ages made air and missile defenses necessary, despite the Empire’s enemies. That was another of Alphas I’s “little statements”.

Well, that and the capital of Ancyr, which was always unwalled for the same reason Sparta had no walls. Which was one of their little statements.)

 

The Imperial Charter: Section Four

…continued from part three.

SECTION IV: NATIONS OF THE EMPIRE

Article I: On Sovereignty

This Charter guarantees the local sovereignty of nations of the Empire underneath the overall sovereignty of the Empire. No interference with local law or custom is contemplated, except where such local law or custom is in conflict with Imperial law (This is, in essence, a supremacy clause, because all constituent nation law in conflict with Imperial law is overridden. Presumptively, all constituent nation laws in areas not reserved to the Empire are valid and will be recognized and respected by the Empire. –ed.). Each nation of the Empire shall be free to determine its internal form of governance as it chooses, consistent with the guarantees, protections, and requirements of this Charter.

The nations of the Empire are sovereign and equal beneath the Empire; no preference shall be given by the Empire to any, or the citizens of any, above and beyond that accorded all, or the citizens of all. No nation of the Empire shall be divided, united, or altered in territory or constituency by the governance of the Empire without the permission of the governance of all nations of the Empire involved.

The Empire reserves to itself the power to create as it sees fit governmental demesnes superior to the constituent nations but subordinate to the Empire. This shall include the power to abolish such demesnes as the Empire sees fit, but no constituent nation may be thus abolished; nor shall any constituent nation be reduced in jurisdiction without the consent of its governance.

Article II: Full Faith and Credit

Full faith and credit shall be given in each nation of the Empire to the Acts, decrees, edicts, writs, records and judicial proceedings of every other nation of the Empire; and the Curia shall, when necessary, act to mediate the means in which and by which such credit shall be given.

Article III: Charter

Each constituent nation of the Empire shall maintain a Charter, in which shall be set out its domain, citizenship, structure, and form of government, and which shall be agreed with the Empire at the time of its admission to the Empire; and such Charter shall be binding upon both the nation and the Empire, and shall not be modified without the consent of both the nation’s governance and the Senate.

Article IV: Dispute Resolution

The government of the Empire shall provide appropriate means for the negotiation and resolution of such disputes, other than matters at law, as may occur between the nations of the Empire; and the Senate shall act as the final arbitrator of any such disputes, and its decision shall be final. In matters at law, such disputes shall be within the jurisdiction of the Curia.

Article V: External Relations

No nation of the Empire shall of its own authority enter into any treaty, alliance, compact, agreement or other relationship with a nation outside the Empire; nor shall any nation of the Empire of its own authority engage in war with any foreign power, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.

No nation of the Empire shall of its own authority (It has been established, however, that with the consent of the Senate local member nations can appoint non-diplomatic representatives for such purposes as participating in postal unions, local trade organizations, and other sub-Imperial functions. — ed.) appoint ambassadors or other diplomatic officers accredited to any nation outside the Empire, nor to any organization of nations including any nation outside the Empire.

Article VI: Legal Priority

The law of each nation of the Empire shall be binding upon all inferior demesnes of government contained therein; and each nation of the Empire shall be bound by the law of all superior demesnes of government which contain it, and may not make law in contradiction to it.

Article VII: On Trade

The Empire shall support free trade among its constituent nations. No nation of the Empire shall engage in piracy or smuggling (A couple of notes here: in this case, the Charter is talking about constituent nations engaging in piracy or smuggling against each other, or the general Imperial trade; not against third parties, although piracy is universally illegal. But one should also note that the word translated here as smuggling refers, in the original Eldraeic, to the import or export of mala in se contraband, not evading customs duties and excises… although, of course, any relation between this linguistic quirk and the truly remarkable number of “blockade runner” starships in the hands of civilians hanging out at seedy free trader bars is purely coincidental. As is the regularity with which complaints on this topic come up at the Conclave of Galactic Polities whenever it has nothing better to do. –ed.), nor allow its territory to be used for piracy or smuggling, nor shall it issue letters of marque and reprisal (And here it’s worth noting that constituent nations shall not issue letters of marque. The Empire as a whole may issue all the letters of marque it pleases. And does. — ed.), or other permission for ships operating within its territory to engage in piracy or smuggling.

No tax or duty shall be laid on articles given or received in trade between the constituent nations of the Empire; nor any special excise laid on the products of any constituent nation. No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one nation of the Empire over those of another; nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one nation, be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another (In the modern day, however, starships entering Imperial territory may be required to clear at the port of entry; since such ports of entry are federal Imperial territory, however, rather than territory of any constituent nation, this does not constitute a violation of this clause. — ed.).

Article VIII: On Standards

The Empire shall establish uniform standards for weights and measures, for the calendar, and for such other areas as it may be necessary, by which standards all Imperial business shall be conducted, and by which trade between its constituent nations shall and must be able to be conducted.

Article IX: Admission and Annexation

Any nation may, through a duly recognized representative, proclaim allegiance to the Empire, and with the approval of the Senate, such nation shall become a constituent nation of the Empire, equal in status to all other nations of the Empire. Such nations shall govern themselves as they see proper, provided that such government does not violate the law of the Empire.

When the Empire shall come into possession, through lawful conquest, of the territory and citizenry of another polity, it shall at first be held under military rule respecting the Fundamental Rights, until such time as the Empire shall see fit to release it or dispose of it to an ally, or until such time as it attains stable self-government under the Empire, at which time it shall and must be admitted to the Empire as a nation equal in status to all others.

Article X: Unincorporated Territory

Those areas of the territory of the Empire which are not under the jurisdiction of a constituent nation at the time of the founding of the Empire (Principally former “international waters”. — ed.), or which are declared to be Unincorporated Territory subsequent the establishment of the Empire, shall be designated as an Unincorporated Territory; and this Unincorporated Territory shall be governed by a Viceroy appointed by the Imperial Couple, with the concurrence of the Senate.

Imperial citizen-shareholders dwelling within any Unincorporated Territory shall have the right to decide, by plebiscite, to become a self-governing nation within the Empire (Readers will note that there is absolutely no lower bound on size listed here. — ed.), either singly or in combination with other Unincorporated Territories, or to unite, with the concurrence of its governance, with an existing constituent nation of the Empire.

…continued in part five, when we start getting into the practicalities of government organization for a few sections.

 

Trope-a-Day: Color-Coded Emotions

Color-Coded Emotions: A common way of encoding emotive data for the use of, say, emoji v-tags, along with geometric shapes and other such abstract symbolism. Very handy for passing along this sort of information when you don’t necessarily share body language, etc., with your interlocutors, especially since it tends not to be tied to any one species’/cultures’ interpretations of such things.