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Constitutional Court of Washingtonia
Logo of the Washingtonia Constitutional Court
Established 22 September 1913
Jurisdiction Kingdom of Washingtonia
Location Constitutional Court Building, Foundersville
Composition method Executive nomination, legislative confirmation
Authorized by Constitution of Washingtonia
Number of positions Five Justices, including the Chief Justice
Website http://www.concourt.gov.wa
Motto
Rule, only by law
Chief Justice
Currently Allen Howsham
Since 27 January 1996

The Constitutional Court of the Kingdom of Washingtonia (CC) is the highest constitutional authority in the Kingdom, established by the Constitution of 1913. It is a special court of sorts - only being able to review and handle appeal cases which involve interpretation of the Constitution, and review the constitutionality of legislation and decrees passed in the Kingdom. It does not handle normal cases which do not involve interpretation of the Constitution, which all have their final appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Court's bench consists of five justices - the Chief Justice and his four Justices. The current Chief Justice is Allen Howsham CJ. The President nominates candidates for all seats, similar to the Supreme Court, however, they must all be legislatively confirmed by the Grand Washingtonian Assembly. The Bench consists of five Justices to avoid any tie votes (abstentions are disallowed). All Justices serve for life, or until they retire or are declared incapable to execute the duties required of them by the Grand Assembly.

The Court is the first "constitutional court" ever established, and has set the template for many which followed.

Constitutional basis

Main article: Constitution of Washingtonia

Chapter 5 of the Constitution, which deals with the Presidency, provides -

"8. The duties of the President follows:

...
8(h) To nominate the Chief Justice and the Justices of the Constitutional Court and to nominate the judicial presiding officers of the Supreme Court and of any other court of law established by the Grand Assembly."

Chapter 6, which deals specifically with the Judiciary, provides -

"1. The highest court of law in Washingtonia is the Constitutional Court, which is the final court of appeal in any and all matters concerning this Constitution.

1(a) The Chief Justice is the chairperson of the Constitutional Court.
1(b) The Chief Justice is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Grand Assembly.
1(c) Four other Justices appointed in the same manner share the judicial bench with the Chief Justice."

Jurisdiction and responsibility

History

Main article: History of the judiciary of Washingtonia

The current legal resolution system in Washingtonia was in large part completely established by the 1913 Constitution. The Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court were the two judicial bodies established, in addition to the Presidency and the Grand Washingtonian Assembly. However, before the Constitution, the highest court in the land was the Kingdom Court (previously the High Court), which had a similar role as the current Constitutional Court.

The Kingdom Court was responsible for hearing cases involving the Monarchy, similar to how the Constitutional Court hears cases involving the Constitution - both sovereign entities in their respective periods. The Justician General, as well as two other judges, officially "impartially" heard Kingdom Court cases. This was highly disputed considering the Justician General was a royally-appointed office. He did at his leisure choose the judges chairing cases with him.

A notable case in 1873, Meyer vs. the King, KC, further damaged the credibility of the court. James Meyer, a rich landowner and vassal of the Concord family in South Island, alleged the King, John I, had an extramarital affair with his daughter, 21 year old Katherine Meyer, while both the King and Katherine were married. Meyer claimed his daughter had been coerced into the affair. Washingtonia, having then too been a highly Christian nation with various elements of canon law applying universally, forbade extramarital affairs, especially if it involved already married couples. The Justician General, Roland Northbrook, delivering the short three line judgment, held that the King was drugged by Katherine and forced into intercourse. Katherine was put to death by stoning, in line with Leviticus 20:10. The judgment ignored the fact that the relationship had taken place over a long time period with Katherine being summoned to the Royal Palace by the King repeatedly during that time. This judgment angered the Meyers and their lords liege, the Concords, and is considered to have been an early contribution to the Civil War.

Foundersville Supreme Court Building

The old Constitutional Court Building (1915-2003).

Not only that, but execution and enforcement of the law under John I was draconian and inconsistent in general. The Kingdom Court played a large part in this which led to the Constitutional Assembly's decision to dissolve it after the Civil War, despite many royalists' calls for it to be kept. The Constitutional Court was established with the enactment of the Constitution with a more democratic selection process. Justices must act "without fear, favor or prejudice" (Chap. 6 Sec. 3) and if they do not, risk impeachment by the Grand Assembly. The Constitution Court is the first of its kind in the world.

The Court has since its establishment had a relatively positive history if one takes the patriarchal context of Washingtonia into account. It has found against the Monarchy and government far more than its predecessors. The Constitutional Crisis of 1946 is the most notable example of this. Given Washingtonia's history, the Court is still considered to be executive minded and conservative given its many findings which reaffirm Washingtonia's alleged misogynist legal order and traditionalist culture. However recent history has produced several more progressive Justices which have gone against the judicial status quo. Justice Daniel LeClaire, who currently serves on the Bench, is but one example of this. He often dissents from the conservative majority judgment.

Composition

Selection

List of current Justices

Name Born Appt. by First day /
Length of service
Previous positions
Allen Howsham CJ
(Chief Justice)
11 March 1949 (age 64)
in Alberttown, North Island
Malcolm Lexington 27 January 1996
17 years
Judge of Appeals, Court of Appeals (1988-1996)
Associate Professor, Dandridge University Law School (1982-1987)
Private practice (1969-1982)
Thomas Cooper J 3 August 1942 (age 71)
in Dandridge, South Island
Malcolm Lexington 27 April 1992
21 years
Provincial Judge, South Island PC (1978-1992)
Dean, University of Reynard Law School (1972-1978)
Associate Professor, UR Law School (1965-1972)
Daniel LeClaire J 16 March 1951 (age 62)
in Dandridge, South Island
Wilson Evrard 21 February 1997
16 years
Provincial Judge, South Island PC (1993-1997)
Professor, DU Law School (1985-1993)
Prosecutor, KLPS (1975-1985)
Isaac Fay J 18 December 1953 (age 60)
in Foundersville, North Island
Wilson Evrard 11 February 2003
10 years
Attorney General (1992-2003)
Provincial Judge, North Island PC (1986-1992)
Professor, DU Law School (1984-1986)
Private practice (1875-1984)
Max Sean J 28 June 1959 (age 54)
in Landing, North Island
Xander Perrot 9 September 2010
3 years
Judge of Appeals, Court of Appeals (1999-2010)
Prosecutor General, KLPS (1989-1999)
Prosecutor, KLPS (1979-1989)

List of former Chief Justices

# Name Appt. by Term
8 Frederick Robnett Sébastian R. LeClerc 1985-1996
7 Paul Hart Gavin T. Levis 1966-1985
6 Thomas Gabriel Gavin T. Levis 1962-1966
5 John Gilbert Martin Laut 1950-1962
4 Stephen Cardin Ferdinand W. Montfort 1936-1950
3 Jon Vincent Richard Tomason 1927-1936
2 Alfred Trembly Richard Tomason 1916-1927
1 Shaun Weral Constitutional Assembly 1913-1916

List of former Justicians General in judicial capacity (1793-1913)

Constitutional Court Building

Foundersville ConCourt Building

The new Constitutional Court Building.

The old Constitutional Court Building was purpose-built in 1915 and housed the Court until 2003, when it moved to its new modern headquarters on the outskirts of Downtown Foundersville. The Supreme Court now occupies the former building, which is now known as the Supreme Court Building.

See also

Kingdom of Washingtonia flag Law of Washingtonia
Core subjects Constitutional law | Administrative law | Private law | Criminal law
Further reading Human and civil rights | Royal prerogative | Legal profession
Legislation Acts of the Grand Washingtonian Assembly (Top/Chr)
Precedent Court of Appeals cases | Supreme Court cases | Const Court cases
Decrees and orders Royal decrees | Executive orders

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