The Second Constitution
The Second Constitution is a written enumeration of powers, rights and authorities for government, the noble class, and the non-noble individual in the Principality of Caledon.
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The Second Constitution enumerated:
- The powers and duties of the Sovereign Prince, including control of the Navy and the Privy Council and the power to declare war (one of whose main consequences is the ability to suspend the Exchequer Clause for the duration of the war), which requires ratification by a majority (50% plus one vote) of the House of Delegates and the Grand Senate.
- The powers of the House of Delegates (mainly control of the budget and the Army, ratify decisions of the other two chambers) and limits on that power.
- One key limit is the Exchequer Clause, which requires the budget to be balanced and forbids deficit spending except in time of war.
- The powers of the Grand Senate (enact treaties, ratify decisions of the other two chambers)
- One major power of the Grand Senate is the ability (subject to veto by the House of Lords) to declare an end to a State of War that was declared by the Prince - which involves the reinstatement of the Exchequer Clause, bringing the military budget back to peacetime levels), after 180 days have passed.
- The powers of the House of Lords (Veto bills from the other two chambers, approve names of warships and the highest-level military decorations, conduct "commitments" of noble regiments)
- The powers reserved to the individual systems
- The type and operation of the local government
- regulation (or lack thereof) of local trade
- Powers denied to individual systems (regulate cargo in transit through/past the system via starports)
- Powers reserved to the nobility
- The power to found and lead the commitment or decommitment of Army regiments
- Internobility and Clan law (subsidiary to the Constitution when conflicts arise) and the powers attending a clan charter, as well as protection from having nobility stripped from nobles and their clans without due process.
- the Nobility Court system.
- Rights and powers reserved to the people (voting in Parliamentary elections, trial by jury under Common Law, freedom from search without warrant, due process in criminal prosecutions and others. Controversially, several civil liberties - freedom of speech, expression, assembly and redress of grievances, the right to keep and bear arms - were deferred to local system governments - most of whom respect them, although there are notable exceptions. This is a perennial controversy at Parliament.
History & Background (Dossier)
In the aftermath of the Second Reaver War, Prince Ian X was at a crest of popularity.
But at the peak of the Prince's sway came news that her mother, Princess Mother Colleen, had had an affair with her husband Morriss III's regent. Worse, the couple and the monarchy had used the power of the monarchy to cover up the affair - a cover-up unearthed by Bannockburn After Dark, an infostream owned by Giles Burns, muckracking journalist.
The investigation uncovered many other abuses of power and side-slippings of what had been considered "due process" under the loose First Constitution.
Indeed, while the First Constitution had certainly brought order and predictability to the Caledonian legal system, it did little to limit the power of the nobility. This led to immense abuses - including the abuses of discretion and power behind the First Civil War, the Uphaival, the Great Restoration, and other civil debacles.
And while the First Constitution had enumerated the relationship between the Prince, the Nobility, and a court system designed to arbitrate disputes between them (as well as enumerating standards that applied to commercial law and the ownership of the military, it did little to enumerate the law as it related to commoners.
But the booming power and wealth of the Principality by 685 had built a sizeable middle class, especially among the septs of the clans - the non-noble clans that were associated with the major clans, and especially a few independent septs that, through canny investment and diligent politics, became nearly as wealthy and powerful as noble clans. And they objected both to the paucity of protections of rights for commoners, and the fact that such laws as existed were buried in centuries of common-law decisions that required expensive barristers to read.
Under pressure from all sides - to head off a political revolt that might shake the monarchy (especially on the more-libertarian outer systems), - Ian convened the Conclave of New Glasgow in 685.
Conclave of New Glasgow
The Conclave was a meeting of about 1,000 nobles, parliamentarians, and motivated citizens. They elected a group of 13 people to write a formal constitution - in writing.
Led by Gerald Muir, they accomplished the job - realizing a simple, direct document that enumerated powers clearly, concisely, and fairly.
The Parliament voted to accept the Second Constitution in 687.