Reference re inquiry by Ministry of Justice dated 13 May 2021

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Reference re inquiry by Ministry of Justice dated 13 May 2021

800px-Iustus CoA.png

Supreme Court of Iustus
Inquired 13 May 2021
Decided 17 May 2021
Full case nameIN THE MATTER OF a Reference relating to an inquiry given by Rachel Burklandssen on behalf of the Ministry of Justice relating to changes to the Iustus Armed Forces, the Ministry of Immigration and Tourism, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
CitationReference re inquiry by Ministry of Justice dated 13 May 2021 (2021) IUS-SC 4
RulingInquiry rejected.
Holding
The Amending Clauses of the Constitution of Iustus relating to the document itself, as well as to Acts of Parliaments prohibits the Supreme Court of Iustus to fulfill such a request. It is clear that there is much time until the establishment of the Empire of Sentallares, with a referendum happening on 8 June 2021 in the Confederation of El Dorado and the Parliament of Iustus still planned to assemble in the near future. Inquiry is rejected.
Court membership
Chief JusticeJayden Lycon
Associate JusticeMatthew Xia
Case opinions
MajorityLycon, joined by Xia
Laws applied
Section II, Article 2, Constitution of Iustus
Section VIII, Article 4, Constitution of Iustus
§2, Article 2, Sentallares Act

Reference re inquiry by Ministry of Justice dated 13 May 2021 (2021) IUS-SC 4[1] was a judgement of the Supreme Court of Iustus regarding a request by Rachel Burklandssen on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. The request consisted of abolishing the Iustus Armed Forces and the Ministry of Immigration and Tourism, as well as reforming the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These changes were requested by the justice ministry to prepare for the future creation of the Empire of Sentallares between Posaf and El Dorado. The court, ruled 2-0, rejected the request, citing that the Amending Clauses of the Constitution of Iustus prohibit such action and that a state of emergency is not warranted to fulfill these requests.

The Ministry of Justice was disappointed with the ruling but nevertheless, accepted it. This judgement later gave way to the tabling and passing of the Reform Act. As of 29 May 2021, the Iustus Armed Forces and the Ministry of Immigration and Tourism are still active, and no changes were made to the foreign ministry.

Background

The case mainly evolves around three parts:

  • The future state of Sentallares
  • Iustus Armed Forces
  • The Ministry of Immigration and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Sentallares

Sentallares is the planned confederation between Posaf, Iustus, and El Dorado, which is set to form in summer 2021. Talks about forming Sentallares date back to February 2021, with a bill relating to the act being added on the agenda as Motion 1.2 on 12 March 2021[2]. On 17 April 2021, the Government passed the Sentallares Act, announcing Iustus' intent to form an empire between Posaf and El Dorado[3].

Voting results on Motion 11.2
Party Voting
Yes No Abstain
Democracy
Faire
Iustus Now
Total 6
Result Passed[a]

The bill was later affirmed through a referendum on 12 March 2021, where 83% supporting the bill whilst 16% voting against[4]. Posaf held similar referendums on the same day, where 50% supported a confederation, 33% supported a ceremonial state, whilst 16% wanted the status quo[5]. A referendum has not occurred in El Dorado, but plans for one are set for 8 June 2021.

Referendum in the Empire of Iustus
12 March 2021
Referendum in the Principality of Posaf
12 March 2021
Should the Empire of Iustus be admitted into a Confederation between Iustus, El Dorado, and Posaf? What should be the future of Posaf?
YesY Yes 83% Confederation 50%
☒N No 16% Transition into a ceremonial state 33%
Remain in the current state 16%

Iustus Armed Forces

Iustus Armed Forces are the unified military forces of Iustus, comprising of the National Guard and Iustian Militia. The former enforces government policies and is controlled by the Chief of the National Guard, whilst the latter protects towns or cities and is controlled by a mayor[6]. The armed forces are under the Iustian Armed Force Act, which was sponsored by the Monarch, then-Prime Minister Ethan Obsidian, and Lord Nicolás Millán[7]. The bill was voted on 29 June 2020 and was passed the same day[8].

Voting results on Motion 11.1
Party Voting
Yes No Abstain
Democracy
Faire
Iustus Now
Environmental
Total 6
Result Passed[a]

Plans for the creation of a military institution, however, date back to former Prime Minister Jordan Michales' government[9]. Protection for Canso-Frontenac is de facto provided by the Aenderian Coast Guard.

Ministry of Immigration and Tourism and Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Minister of Justice and Minister of Immigration and Tourism Rachel Burklandssen (right) sent the inquiry. William Wilson (left) is the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry of Immigration and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are both ministries of the Iustus Government. Like their names suggest, the former covers immigration and tourism, whilst the latter represents Iustus in other micronations and inter-micronational organizations. During the ruling, the Minister of Immigration and Tourism was also Rachel Burklandssen, whilst the Minister of Foreign Affairs was William Wilson.

Both ministries are listed in the Constitution:

The five Government Ministries shall be known as: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Immigration and Tourism, and the Ministry of Justice.

— Constitution of Iustus[10]

Inquiry

Noting the major changes in government, the Minister of Justice, Rachel Burklandssen, issued a request to the Supreme Court. The request requested its abolishment of the Iustus Armed Forces, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as reforms to other ministries.

To the Supreme Court from the Minister of Justice: In accordance with Iustus proceeding to join Sentallares, I strongly advice that you abolish the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Iustian Armed Forces; reform the Ministry of Immigration and Tourism to the Ministry of Tourism (which could later be absorbed into the Ministry of the Interior), and transform the National Guard into a State Guard. The Ministry of Justice believes these steps are necessary to not interfere with Sentallares sovereignty.

— Rachel Burklandssen, Minister of Justice [11]

The Chief Justice, Jayden Lycon, received the request shortly and forwarded it to Associate Judge Matthew Xia for review[12].

Opinion of the court

The opinion of the court was written by Chief Justice Lycon, with Associate Judge Xia joining in with the majority. The majority argued that the court was not at liberty at fulfilling these requests, primarily citing the Constitution of Iustus. Four reasons were given by Lycon on why he argued that it is unconstitutional:

  • "Pursuant to Section II, Article 4, of the Constitution of Iustus, the Court does not have the power to fulfill a request abolishing ministries affected."
  • "Pursuant to Section VIII, Article 4, of the Constitution of Iustus, the Court does not have the power to repeal the Iustus Armed Force Act, 2020."
  • "§2, Article 2 of the Sentallares Act is not considered enforced."
  • "The Parliament of Iustus can still propose a bill relating to the inquiry."

Lycon argued that since the constitution specifically mandates the ministries affected, any changes would require amending the constitution. The constitution places this responsibility solely at the legislature or monarch, which is listed at the Amending Clause of the constitution:

“This Constitution shall not be amended, edited, or suspended in any way except by consent of the Monarch and over 55% of the House of Representatives. In the case of an absolute emergency the Monarch shall make changes to the Constitution deemed necessary that shall be reversed once crisis is over.”

— Constitution of Iustus[13]

The same is argued for the abolishment of the Iustus Armed Forces. As the institution is outlined in an act of Parliament, the Constitution states that it will require another act of Parliament to pass in order to repeal it.

“Acts of Parliament may not be amended, or repealed except by other Acts of Parliament.”

— Constitution of Iustus[14]

The Court also used an upcoming legislative session to justify its holding. The Court noted that Motion 1.3 North Aenderian bill, which was tabled by Austin Jaax on 12 May 2021[15], has yet to be voted upon. Respecting this, the Court ruled that Parliament is still operating and that a bill relating to these institutions can still be passed. Finally, the Court ruled that since §2, Article 2 of the Sentallares Act was not in effect. This clause states that:

“Any government structure, cabinet position, or parcel issued by the national government that contradicts or interferes with the sovereignty of the Empire of Sentallares shall hereby either cease to exist upon ascension or shall be reformed as per the Sentallarean constitution.”

— Sentallares Act[16]

The Court stated that the Governments of Posaf, El Dorado, and Iustus had failed to present a constitution for Sentallares, with the Constitution of Iustus still being the governmental instrument for the Empire of Iustus. As such, did not fulfill the clause. Therefore, the Court concluded that the Government can not abolish institutions using this justification[17].

Aftermath

The judgement of the Court led to the tabling and passing of the Reform Act.

Burklandssen, representing the Ministry of Justice, expressed her disappointment with the ruling, however, declared that they weren't interested in proceeding further with appeals and would accept the holding of the Court.[18]

Motion 1.4 Reform bill[b], commonly known as the Reform Act was later tabled on 18 May 2021 and was sponsored by Burklandssen. The bill listed everything issued in the inquiry, however, the abolishment/reforms to affected institutions were delayed until the signing of the Sentallares Declaration of Independence [19]. The motion was carried into voting on 21-22 May, where 7 members of Parliament voted. The bill passed with 6 supports, 0 opposes, and 1 abstain. The sole abstainer was Chief Justice Jayden Lycon [20].

As of 29 May 2021, the Reform Act is active but has not been executed since no declaration of independence has been signed.

Voting results on Motion 1.4
Party Voting
Yes No Abstain
Democracy
Faire
Total 6 1
Result Passed[a]

References

  1. Lycon, Jayden (20 May 2021) Lycon (2021) IUS-CJD 4
  2. Jaax, Austin (12 March 2021) Agenda, 12 March 2021
  3. Parliament of the Empire of Iustus (17 April 2021) Voting for Motion 1.2
  4. Iustus Government (12 March 2021) Directive on Confederation, 12 March 2021
  5. Posaf Government (12 March 2021) Results for Posafian General Referenda, 12 March 2021
  6. Iustus Government (29 June 2020) Iustian Armed Force Act
  7. Jaax, Austin (29 June 2020) Armed Forces bill call
  8. Iustus Parliament (27 May 2020) Parliament session, 27 May 2020
  9. Jaax, Austin and Cameron I (2 January 2019) Messages from Iustus server, 2 January 2019
  10. , Iustus Government (n.d.) Constitution of Iustus. Section X, Article 6.
  11. Burklandssen, Rachel (13 May 2021) Inquiry to the Supreme Court
  12. Lycon, Jayden (13 May 2021) Messages from the Supreme Court
  13. Iustus Government (n.d.) Constitution of Iustus. Section II, Article 4.
  14. , Iustus Government (n.d.) Constitution of Iustus. Section VIII, Article 2.
  15. Iustus Parliament (12 May 2021) Northern Aenderian bill
  16. Iustus Government (17 April 2020) Sentallares Act
  17. Supreme Court of Iustus (17 May 2021) Reference re inquiry by Ministry of Justice dated 13 May 2021
  18. Burklandssen, Rachel (17 May 2021) Messages from the Supreme Court, 17 May 2021
  19. Iustus Government (12 May 2021) Reform Act
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Iustus Parliament (21 May 2021) Iustus Parliament, 21 May 2021

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Adoption based on a simple majority.
  2. Though the act's listed name was the Reform Act, Austin Jaax tabled to Parliament as Motion 1.4 Reform bill.