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.

 

15 thoughts on “The Imperial Charter: Section Four

  1. Pingback: The Imperial Charter: Section Three | The Eldraeverse

  2. One question that bounced into my head earlier, but seems more appropriate to ask here: When the “Union of Empires” was converted into the “Empire of the Star,” did the constituent empires of Cestia and Selenaria maintain their own legal existence as separate constituent nations, or were they both effectively subsumed to create a new unified Crown much as happened with England and Scotland to form Great Britain in 1707?
    I note that there are no provisions here for secession of nations. Oversight, deliberate, or covered elsewhere by other provisions and principles?
    In reference particularly to Article VII: Given that the implicit Right of Free Trade that is universal across the Empire would seem to imply that tariffs, restrictions, and bans on commerce are out, how could one constituent nation meaningfully “smuggle” something into another in the first place? What sort of items are considered mala in se in the first place?

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    • One question that bounced into my head earlier, but seems more appropriate to ask here: When the “Union of Empires” was converted into the “Empire of the Star,” did the constituent empires of Cestia and Selenaria maintain their own legal existence as separate constituent nations, or were they both effectively subsumed to create a new unified Crown much as happened with England and Scotland to form Great Britain in 1707?

      Separate constituent nations. If you recall back in Section I, Article VIII, there’s the note about Alphas I and Seledie III passing on their coronargyr/imperium over Cestia and Selenaria respectively to the next rulers of those two Empires. Partly that’s because with the technology of the time (being separated by a decent-sized sea) local authority was needed; partly because they would have been too busy with the issues of the new, larger Empire to give their former nations the necessary attention; and partly because it would have been impossible to avoid giving them some undue preference, which wouldn’t have worked well in a union of (originally) five polities.

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

      That’s an involved enough answer I’m going to put it in a post.

      In reference particularly to Article VII: Given that the implicit Right of Free Trade that is universal across the Empire would seem to imply that tariffs, restrictions, and bans on commerce are out, how could one constituent nation meaningfully “smuggle” something into another in the first place?

      Well, they can’t any more, technically. But they used to, so this is more of a “and you can all stop that now” clause than anything else. It might also be construable as equivalent to the “transporting X across state lines” laws we have in the US, although the Curia hasn’t seen fit to so construe it yet, and probably won’t.

      What sort of items are considered mala in se in the first place?

      Anything whose unlawfulness/unethicality arises from its essence, not from its use; i.e., those things which by their nature can have no legitimate use or are themselves “poisoned fruit”, having their origin in (proximate) rights-violations.

      nweismuller picks out a couple of the obvious cases of the latter, those being slaves and stolen goods. Knock-offs and pirated data would be another, as products of fraud and unlawful duplication and conveyance, respectively.

      Another category, of the former this time, would be Class 2 and 3 Coercive Substances, which have no function other than committing gross choice-theft (which are not limited to the category in that post – a drug that causes immediate and uncontrollable violent insanity, say, is also a Class 3 Coercive Substance).

      Other examples follow essentially the same patterns…

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      • Another category, of the former this time, would be Class 2 and 3 Coercive Substances, which have no function other than committing gross choice-theft (which are not limited to the category in that post – a drug that causes immediate and uncontrollable violent insanity, say, is also a Class 3 Coercive Substance).

        I’m guessing the prohibitions on such substances even extend to denying them as valid options for enforcing Defense and Common Defense, even though they technically pass the “non-necessity of repetition” and “certainty-not-severity” tests just as well as killing the violator stone-dead would?

        (i.e. No hegemonizing people for trespassing, or using “Pandora-box basilisks” for fail-deadly tamper resistance on your personal effects?)

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        • (Well, not the former. Self-defense gives you license to kill if necessary, not license to enslave.)

          But, y’know, you can have all the deadly poisons and mindcrashing basilisks you want, because they can have legitimate uses. Your use of them may be criminal, or it may be no more so than SPECIAL SECURITY PROCEDURE BASILISK FIDELIS. That’s for the courts to adjudicate at the time.

          But, well, Class 2 Coercive Substances are explicit slaver-tools, and Class 3’s are such things as drugs or basilisks that make Reavers. Definitionally, they can’t have any legitimate use.

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          • So to generalize a principle from the specific cases mentioned, even by the Empire’s admittedly high standards for such, there’s still a threshold for actions taken in legitimate self-and-others-defense beyond which anything else constitutes illegitimate retaliation?

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            • It’s not quantitative, it’s qualitative.

              For the purposes of self-and-others defense, you are entitled to incapacitate the attacker. The Curia isn’t interested in armchair quarterbacking how much force counts in incapacitation (leaving aside for the moment the question of “excessive collateral damage” – deploying a nuclear device in a bar fight would be, ah, legally excessive – unless you happened to be in a bar fight with a kaiju), and in the interests of avoiding bad horror-movie cliches, is comfortable with the notion that you may wish to use lethal force to ensure that they stay incapacitated.

              (Inasmuch as “do not, ever, engage in any kind of nonconsensual violence or other nonconsensual contact against anyone” is a simple enough rule that violating it is pretty much prima facie “death by stupidity”, in their book.)

              So if someone tries to start a fight with you in a bar, say, you are on safe legal ground (even if, depending on circumstances, not necessarily in the best of taste) if you pull out your hand cannon and explode their head.

              Using a coercive substance or YGBM to core out their volition and turn them into your dancing monkey, on the other hand, goes right past incapacitation and out the other side.

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              • Using a coercive substance or YGBM to core out their volition and turn them into your dancing monkey, on the other hand, goes right past incapacitation and out the other side.

                Does that still hold even if, as in the hypothetical Pandora-box booby trap, said volition core is set up only to trigger when the offender performs a specific, willful, and knowingly illicit action or sequence of actions to trigger it?

                (i.e. Would “Technically, I didn’t do anything; they did it to themselves” be an acceptable defense if you’ve set it up so that their action is the one that immediately triggers the device?)

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                • Well, that would be a hilariously easy to abuse loophole, now wouldn’t it?

                  No, you cannot legitimize the illegitimate by setting up that sort of technicality. You can exercise legitimate defense by proxy-device, because it’s a priori legitimate; you can’t legitimize offense that way because it’s a priori illegitimate.

                  …penalties may in fact be somewhat increased for attempting to do so under the principle of This Court Does Not Appreciate People Trying To Play Silly Buggers With The Rules.

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  3. The most obvious malum in se item that could be subject to ‘smuggling’ under the Empire’s laws and mores that I can think of would be ‘slaves’. I’m sure there are others, but that’s the most obvious.

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  4. Pingback: The Imperial Charter: Section Five | The Eldraeverse

  5. Pingback: Trope-a-Day: Creating Life is Awesome | The Eldraeverse

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