|Kingdom of Washingtonia|
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On appeal, in Reynolds vs. Minister (Interior), 09-2005 CC, the Constitutional Court held that the Bill of Rights must be read along with the Bible, and because of Section 2 of Chapter 1, the Bible will take precedence (in Reynolds vs. Minister (Interior), 17-2005 SC the lower Supreme Court held that it goes against "national morals [interest]" to allow for homosexual activities). Homosexual activities in its entirety are, therefore, against the law in Washingtonia, punishable by a fine or community service.
Section 1 of the Bill of Rights recognizes first and foremost before civil liberties the fundamental natural rights which each person is "bestowed upon by God". These, popularized by John Locke, are the rights to life, liberty and property (capitalized in the Constitution for emphasis).
The "Right to Life", before FEDERAL vs. Commissioner (South Island Prisons), 06-1982 CC, was narrowly thought to literally simply mean that every man has the right to live and not be killed by the government or fellow citizens. However, the Constitutional Court found that the right to life applies more broadly, and includes the right to not be treated inhumanely with specific reference to torture or gross blackmail. The court also said that to live a dignified life also thus applies, creating the right to dignity.
Section 2 rights
Freedom of speech
Freedom of expression
Freedom of religion
Freedom of thought
Freedom of assembly
Main article: Law of Washingtonia
Due process is excessively protected by constitutional and statutory law in Washingtonia. Section 4 of Chapter 2 (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution first and foremost recognizes that men shall be innocent until proven guilty, and further prohibits the state from forcing accused of testifying against themselves or their family, and protection from unlawful search and seizure. Section 4(d) outlines the fundamentals of criminal trials - accused have the option of either being tried by a randomly selected jury of seven peers; or being tried by a tribunal of three "qualified presiding officers" (judges).
The Provincial Courts Act of 1940 establishes that each criminal division of the Provincial Courts shall consist of three judges (while civil cases have one). The Supreme Court also consists of three judges as stated by Section 2(c) of Chapter 6 (the Judiciary) of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court, which will rarely hear criminal cases, consists of a full bench of five justices, including the Chief Justice. Thus, this fundamental provision in Section 4(d) ensures that no tie votes take place, either in a jury trial (which has only one judge) or a presiding officers trial. Abstentions are disallowed as per the Crimes Act of 1933, and judges or jury members must vote either 'guilty' or 'not guilty'.
Criminal liability must be proven by the King's Loyal Prosecuting Service beyond a reasonable doubt.
Homosexual activities are explicitly illegal within the Kingdom, including marriage and more specifically sexual activities, under the Marriages Act of 1959 as amended in November 2005. Anyone found "engaging in or encouraging homosexual activities including marriage under statutory or common law or activities of a sexual nature is guilty of an offense", and liable for a fine (the highest of which cannot exceed C5,000) or community service as determined by a court or jury.
The landmark case is Reynolds vs. Minister (Interior), 09-2005 CC wherein the Constitutional Court upheld the Supreme Court's ruling, however added that the "national morals" defense of the SC was irrelevant. Chief Justice Howsham specifically stated that homosexual activities (not only marriages) violates Section 2 of Chapter 1 of the Constitution (the basic provisions), as it (within the interpretation of the court) goes against the Bible.
The Grand Washingtonian Assembly, after Reynolds was concluded, took the initiative in codifying the new criminal law, and amended the Marriages Act in November of 2005. Before Reynolds, no homosexuals who had been denied recognition of marriage by the Interior Ministry had taken the matter to court, thus the activities went unchecked. Reynolds changed the face of Washingtonia's civil rights record and led to international outcry.
Under the Miscellaneous Definitions Act of 1994, sex and gender are used interchangeably and defined as "not changeable". The Supreme Court upheld this in Atkins vs. Geraldson, 19-2001 SC that a person's gender (sex) cannot change, and that "undergoing an operation or procedure" to change "this natural way of being" goes against the national interest, citing that as a Christian nation, people must embrace the gender (sex) that God bestows upon them. Although sex change operations are thus not recognized, no statutory action has been taken to explicitly criminalize the act thereof. Therefore, sex change operations are legal, however, the subject's gender (sex) does not change as a result thereof.
Women's rights has been a highly controversial issue in Washingtonia since the dawn of the international women's liberation movements. Washingtonian society had always been deeply rooted in the more conservative ideology of Christianity, thus, with the 1913 Constitution, the framers went out of their way to ensure the protections only applied to men (used interchangeably with males). Women, however, since the mid twentieth century, have been awarded many rights and protections by means of statutory law. The Constitutional Court explicitly recognized that while the Constitution does single out men, creating law protecting women is not unconstitutional (as legislation can be much more easily amended or repealed).
Females are allowed to become Monarch (Queen - as per Section 3 of Chapter 3 of the Constitution) only if absolutely no males within the royal family are available. Females within the House of Washington are given precedence to eligible males within other noble houses (who can inherit the Throne if no males or females from the royal family are available - Section 5), thus it is reasonably likely that a woman will inherit the Throne in the future.
In other aspects of society, women do experience patterns of discrimination. In politics, no women can be elected to the Grand Washingtonian Assembly or Presidency or nominated to the judiciary. Women may become lower ranking civil servants and essentially anything within the private sector, but that job may never substitute their duties to their husbands and families (Women's Role Decree of 1868). If a woman does neglect (judicial discretion on whether or not neglect has taken place) her traditional duties, husbands, male children or parents may institute a civil action in court. If "gross perpetual neglect" has taken place, the state may institute criminal actions, and the accused may face up to 5 years in jail.
Abortion is strictly outlawed and considered murder in the first degree, of which the punishment is death. Adultery on the part of the wife is considered gross perpetual negligence thus constitutes a criminal action, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years. Although law does not recognize adultery on the part of the husband as a criminal offense, the wife may institute a civil action for monetary compensation. The courts do not consider women's testimonies or evidence as lesser and officially act impartial and without favor.
Media and censorship
Main article: Defamation in Washingtonia
Although freedom of the press is an implied right with freedom of speech and expression, the courts have taken a very conservative approach to defamation as well as offensive speech on media forums, especially the internet in recent years. Arbor vs. Matteos, 12-1998 CC is the landmark case concerning defamation and was decided before the full internetization of modern society. The rules of defamation are that to succeed in such a case, the plaintiff must prove that 1) the remark is untrue AND 2) that it is not in the best interest of Washingtonian society to know whether or not it is true. If the plaintiff fails to convince the court of either, the suit will fail. The defense must however lay a foundation for why the remark was made and what led them to believe it was true. The court can thus find in favor of the defense if the defendant reasonably thought that what he or she was saying was the truth, and that it was in the national interest to make it public. This applies across all platforms, including the internet.
The modern case Minister (National Intelligence) and Minister (Defense) vs. Free Information Society of Washingtonia, 04-2009 CC, is the principal case law for censorship. The Ministers of National Intelligence and Defense sued FreeInfo after the society released photographs taken from a vantage point into Army Base Foundersville on Facebook, showing troops transporting what appeared to be weapons of mass destruction. The photos led to a near diplomatic crisis between Washingtonia and the United States, however was averted in top secret discussions. The case judgment itself is short and much of it not released to the public, however, the Constitutional Court called for the Grand Assembly to pass legislation which clearly defines the protection of sensitive information in the Kingdom.
The Minister of Justice thus had his office prepare three acts, namely the Security of Intelligence Act of 2010 (SIA), the Access to Certain Sensitive Information Act of 2010 (ACSI) and the Prohibition on Certain Speech Act of 2010 (PCS), all of which passed the Union Nationalist-Assembly regardless of the near universal protest from the Christian Libertarians. In essence, the SIA prohibits whistle blowing and divulging information declared secret by the government, the ACSI sets out the procedure by which public interests groups can obtain information, if at all, and the most controversial, the PCS, prohibits many non-security related speech most notably on the internet, including pornography, threatening (even jokingly) to overthrow the government, or take pictures of certain government installations, not limited to defense or intelligence facilities.
- Law of Washingtonia
- Constitution of the Kingdom of Washingtonia
- Constitutional Court of Washingtonia
|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|