We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic peace, provide for the common defense, promote the common good, and secure the blessings of freedom to ourselves and our descendants, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Declaration of Rights
1. All human beings equally possess inherent and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property. The most urgent purpose of government is to secure the enjoyment of these rights by its citizens. No human being shall be deprived of the enjoyment of these rights by our national, state, or local governments except as absolutely necessary for securing the equal enjoyment of inherent and inalienable rights by all. Important specifications of these rights include the following:
a. The right to freedom of religion, including freedoms of worship and religious exercise, as well as the right to abstention from the same
b. The right to the free communication of ideas in speech and writing
c. The right to peaceably assemble
d. The right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as injury to oneself or one’s property
2. All citizens of the United States are entitled to the equal enjoyment of every right pertaining directly to citizenship. These rights include the following:
a. The right to equal protection of inherent and inalienable rights by law, and to the equal enforcement of such laws
b. The equal right to vote for all citizens who are eighteen years of age or older
c. The right to a government based on the principle of self-government by the people at the national, state, and local levels
d. The right to a trial by jury
e. The right to petition the government, and to openly criticize the same in public or in private
All legislative powers herein granted will be vested in a Congress of the United States, which will consist in a Senate and House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives will be composed of members chosen every two years by the citizens in each state. Representatives must be (1) at least twenty-five years old, (2) a citizen of the United States for at least seven years prior to the election, and (3) an inhabitant of that state in which they will be chosen. Representatives may not serve more than five complete terms consecutively.
Candidates for election to the House of Representatives may not use private funds, either their own or those of others, for campaign-related activities or expenditures. Campaign funding will be provided at the public expense and paid out of the treasury of the United States. The amount of public funds designated for this purpose will be determined by law, and distributed to each state in direct proportion to the state's population. The legislature of each state will determine the qualifications for receiving public campaign funding; provided only that funds be distributed equally among all qualifying candidates.
Each state with a population less than the median will be apportioned three representatives. Each state with a population greater than the median, but comprising less than 5% of the total population of the United States, will be apportioned four representatives. Each state with a population comprising greater than 5% of the total population of the United States will be apportioned five representatives.
When vacancies happen in the representation from any state, the governor of the state will call a special election to fill such vacancies.
The House of Representatives will choose their Speaker and other officers, and will have the sole power of impeachment.
The Senate of the United States will be composed of members equal in number to the number of states, chosen by the House of Representatives from among their own members, to serve for a term of six years. Senators may not serve more than two complete terms consecutively. Upon completion of their term(s), Senators will be ineligible for re-election to the House of Representatives for the next election cycle.
After the first election, Senators will be divided as equally as possible into three groups. The seats of the Senators of the first group will be vacated at the end of the second year, of the second group at the end of the fourth year, and of the third group at the end of the sixth year, so that one third will be chosen every two years. When vacancies occur prior to the completion of a term, they will be filled by special election in the House of Representatives.
Senators must be (1) at least thirty years old, (2) a citizen of the United States for at least nine years prior to the election, and, (3) after the first election, a member of the House of Representatives for at least one complete term prior to the election.
The Vice President of the United States will be President of the Senate, but will have no vote except in case of a tie.
The Senate will choose their other officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when s/he will exercise the office of President of the United States.
The Senate will have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they will be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice will preside. No person will be convicted without the agreement of two thirds of the members present.
Judgment in cases of impeachment will not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States; but the party convicted will nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.
The times, places and manner of holding elections for Representatives will be prescribed in each state by its legislature; no state will deprive any of its citizens of the equal right to vote.
Congress will assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting will begin at noon on January 3rd, unless they will by law appoint a different day.
The House of Representatives will be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of the members of both houses of Congress, and a majority of each house will constitute a quorum to do business. A smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each house may provide.
Each house may determine the rules of is proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the agreement of two thirds, expel a member.
Each house will keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house on any question will, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.
Neither house, during the session of Congress, will, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses will be sitting.
The Senators and Representatives will receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives will take effect until an election of Representatives has intervened. They will in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same.
No Senator or Representative will, during the time for which they were elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, which will have been created, or whose salary or benefits will have been increased during such time; and no person holding any office under the United States, will be a member of either house during their continuance in office.
All bills for raising revenue will originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.
Every bill which passes in the House of Representatives and the Senate will, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States. If the President approves s/he will sign it, but if not s/he will return it, with his/her objections to that house in which it will have originated, who will enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that house agrees to pass the bill, it will be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it will likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that house, it will become a law But in all such cases the votes of both houses will be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill will be entered on the journal of each house respectively. If any bill is not returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it is presented to him/her, the same will be a law, in like manner as if it had been signed by the President, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it will not be a law.
Every order, resolution, or vote to which the agreement of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) will be presented to the President of the United States; and before the same will take effect, will be approved by the President, or being disapproved, will be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.
The Congress will have the power:
To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises; to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises will be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the American Indian Nations;
To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin money, regulate its value and the value of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
To establish post offices and post roads;
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
To support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use will be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for the mobilization of the military forces of the states to repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the military forces of the states, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers and the authority of training their military forces according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same will be, for the construction of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings; and
To make all laws which will be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus will not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
No bill of attainder or ex post facto law will be passed.
No tax or duty will be laid on articles exported from any state.
No preference will be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one state over those of another; nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one state, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.
No money will be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money will be published from time to time.
No title of nobility will be granted by the United States; and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them will, without the consent of the Congress, accept any present, benefit, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
No state will make or enforce any law which violates any of the rights listed in the Declaration of Rights.
No state will enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.
No state will, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws; and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any state on imports or exports, will be for the use of the treasury of the United States; and all such laws will be subject to the revision and control of the Congress.
No state will, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
The executive power will be vested in a President of the United States of America. S/he will hold his/her office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected by the citizens of the United States as follows:
Each candidate for President will choose a candidate for Vice President and be paired with the same on a single ticket in every ballot. Every citizen of the United States will have the right to vote for one ticket. If the leading ticket receives a majority of the votes cast, the candidates on that ticket will be elected President and Vice President. If no ticket receives a majority of the votes cast, the two leading tickets will be included in a runoff election, and the candidates on the ticket with the majority of votes cast will be elected President and Vice President.
Candidates for President and Vice President must be (1) at least forty years old, and (2) citizens of the United States, and continuous residents thereof, for at least fourteen years prior to the election.
No person will be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President will be elected to the office of the President more than once.
The terms of the President and Vice President will end at noon on the 20th day of January of the year in which their terms end; and the terms of their successors will then begin.
Candidates for President and Vice President may not use private funds, either their own or those of others, for campaign-related activities or expenditures. Campaign funding will be provided at the public expense and paid out of the treasury of the United States. The amount of public funds designated for this purpose will be determined by law. The Congress will determine the qualifications for receiving public campaign funding; provided only that funds be distributed equally among all qualifying candidates.
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his/her death or resignation, the Vice President will become President. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President will nominate a Vice President who will take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both houses of Congress.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his/her written declaration that s/he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his/her office, and until s/he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties will be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his/her office, the Vice President will immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his/her written declaration that no inability exists, s/he will resume the powers and duties of his/her office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his/her office. Thereupon Congress will decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President will continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President will resume the powers and duties of his/her office.
The President will, at stated times, receive for his/her service, a compensation, which will neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which s/he will have been elected, and s/he will not receive within that period any other material benefit from the United States or any particular state.
Before s/he enter on the execution of his/her office, s/he will take the following oath or affirmation: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The President will be Commander in Chief of the military forces of the United States, and of the military forces of the several states when called into the actual service of the United States; s/he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and s/he will have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
S/he will have the power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present agree; and s/he will nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, will appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which will be established by law; but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
The President will have the power to fill all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which will expire at the end of their next session.
S/he will from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as s/he will judge necessary and expedient; s/he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, s/he ay adjourn them to such time as s/he will think proper; s/he will receive ambassadors and other public ministers; s/he will take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and will commission all the officers of the United States.
The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States will be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
The judicial power of the United States will be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, will hold their offices during good behavior, and will, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation which will not be diminished during their continuance in office.
The judicial power will extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which will be made, under their authority; to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States will be a party; to controversies between two or more states; between a state and citizens of another state, between citizens of different states, between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, o the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.
In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court will have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court will have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress will make.
Any decision rendered by the supreme and inferior courts of the United States may, by the agreement of two thirds of each house of Congress, be rendered null and void.
The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, will be by jury; and such trial will be held in the state where the said crimes will have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial will be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.
Treason against the United States, will consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person will be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The Congress will have the power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason will work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.
Full faith and credit will be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records and proceedings will be proved, and the effect thereof.
The citizens of each state will be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states, as well as to all of the rights listed in the Declaration of Rights.
A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who will flee from justice, and be found in another state, will on demand of the executive authority of the state from which s/he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime.
New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new state will be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.
The Congress will have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution will be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.
The United States will guarantee to all of its citizens a state government that is based on the principle of self-government by the people, and will protect each of the states against invasion.
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses will deem it necessary, will propose amendments to this Constitution; or, on the application either of (1) the legislatures of a majority of the several states or (2) a majority of citizens of the United States, will call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, will be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by conventions in two thirds of the states.
All debts contracted and engagements entered into before the adoption of this Constitution, will be as valid against the United States under this Constitution as under the previous.
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which will be made in pursuance thereof; and all treatise made, or which will be made, under the authority of the United States, will be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state will be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, will be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test will ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
The ratification of a majority of the citizens of the United States will be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution among them.