I write constitutions. I’ve actually written several of them. It is my misfortune to live at a time when there is no need for anyone who has studied Constitutions intensively, written them assiduously, and thought about them constantly.
What follows is a draft of what I think should be the rights incorporated in a modern bill of rights.
Article 3.0 Rights
Section 1.0 We now fix our rights from government.
Section 2.0 We have civil rights to:
1st – liberty;
2nd – life;
3rd – equal opportunity;
4th – fair treatment; and
5th – property.
Section 3.0 We have economic rights to:
1. fair commerce;
2. jobs for those who can work that provide a decent livelihood;
3. movement and communication; and
4. sales prices for commodities that provide a decent livelihood for their producers.
Section 4.0 We have general welfare rights to:
1. advancement and diffusion of knowledge;
2. conditions conducive to health including access to prudent medical care;
3. education available throughout life;
4. flourishing arts and letters;
5. plentiful recreation;
7. solace when aged; and
8. time to enjoy our Republic.
Section 5.0 We have cultural rights to:
2. language; and
3. way of life.
Section 6.0 We have governmental rights to:
1. accurate recording and rapid and accurate counting of election votes;
2. common defense of the United States;
3. domestic tranquility;
4. privacy; and
5. stewardship of the soil, water, and air.
The careful reader will note that all the stuff about criminal rights, so familiar in the Bill of Rights, seem to be missing. But, fret not. They have actually been incorporated in the article on the judiciary. That, after all, is where they belong. The relevant section of the article on the judiciary reads as follows.
Section 9.0 The execution of justice is subject to these liberties:
1. Except for information here made confidential, no court of justice may conduct any act outside of our view.
2. In criminal prosecutions no one may:
a. be charged with a felony except on an indictment of a grand jury;
b. be compelled to witness against himself or herself;
c. be sentenced to cruel and unusual punishments;
d. be twice in jeopardy for the same offense; and
e. have excessive bail and fines imposed.
3. In criminal prosecutions the accused has a right to:
a. be confronted with the witnesses;
b. be defended by skilled criminal defense trial counsel;
c. be informed of the nature and source of the accusation;
d. compulsory process for obtaining witnesses; and
e. speedy and public trial.
4. None of us may be imprisoned, desseised of property, deprived of life or liberty, deprived of other privileges and immunities, be banished, or otherwise destroyed but under law. Judgment on facts must be by a unanimous jury of 12 peers. We may not otherwise pass judgment upon another.
5. The Republic may be estopped.
6. The Republic may sue and be sued.
7. The Chancellor has no trial or appellate jurisdiction.