Provisions of Opava

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The Provisions of Opava (Prekovi: Opavaská Ustanovení; commonly, the Provisions) are the written constitution of Prekonate. The two entrenched divisions that make up the Provisions delineate the structure of the Prekovi state, and the relationship between the state and its citizens. Though the Provisions have been amended 72 times, most of the original 1642 provisions remain in effect. Therefore, some scholars consider them to be Maredoratica's oldest constitution.

The Provisions preempt all State and local laws, rules, and regulations, as well as all local customs. They impose limitations on the kinds of laws that Prekonate's local legislatures (Prekovi: věci, sing. věc) can make.

The Prekovi states were among the wealthiest in the world when the Provisions were written. Philosophy, which was discouraged in Alisna, flourished in the cultural hubs of Opava and Ostrava. The Provisions incorporated principles that were considered progressive by the standards of the day, including the separation of powers; legal supremacy over local custom; and the abolition of hereditary privilege, slavery (including serfdom), and polygamy. They functioned as a model for liberal constitutions across Maredoratica during the 18th and 19th centuries.

History

The Prekovi states that adopted the Provisions in 1642 (Opava in Blue, Ostrava in red, Starý Petřín in green)

The Estates Council of Opava, Ostrava, and Starý Petřín adopted the Provisions of Opava on November 10th, 1642, shortly after Václav Opavský declared the state of Prekonate. After the brief Unification War concluded with Opavský's victory, the Provisions were adopted by the rest of the Prekovi basin states. They formed the supreme law of the new state of Prekonate.

A convention was held to overhaul the Provisions in 1812, after Prekonate conquered the Mongol chieftain Qutlugh. The delegates added four new chapters to the Provisions, establishing the Slavonic Church as the state church, prohibiting the government from sponsoring cultural practices that did not advance Prekovi culture, allowing the government to classify citizens based on race, and denying the Provisions' rights to Mongolics.

Over time, the Provisions have been adapted to incorporate many strains of philosophical thought, including natural rights, women's suffrage, entitlement to due process, and freedom of religion. Through the 19th and into the 20th centuries, the central influence of liberal pluralism was supplanted by increasingly powerful forces of nationalism, Prekovi ethnocentrism, and right-wing populism. However, the Provisions retain a liberal structure, particularly in their treatment of natural rights in the Second Division.

Structure

The Provisions are divided into two sections, or "divisions."

First Division

The First Division draws the contours of the federal state. It establishes the legislative authority of the local legislatures, and enumerates specific areas in which national Senate can preempt that authority. It vests judicial powers in a hierarchy of courts. It establishes rules for electing senators, and for the conduct of the Senate.

Federal powers

The First Division grants the federal government authority over trans-local issues, which fall broadly into nine categories: immigration, defence, expropriation of land, administration of the autonomous and industrial regions, appellate justice, crimes against the state, trade and commerce, federal civic administration, and national finance.

Local powers

The local legislatures have implicit authority over matters not controlled by the federal government. In particular, they have broad authority over matters of private law, which in Prekonate includes the areas of criminal law not dealing with crimes against the state (e.g. subversion, treason).

Structure of the judiciary

The Provisions do not lay out the structure of the judiciary, but make numerous references to the federal government's authority over State Courts.

There are three parallel court systems in Prekonate: one for the krajs, another for the autonomous and industrial regions, and a third for republics. They differ in their degrees of federal involvement; the courts of the autonomous regions are entirely federally-appointed, while the courts of the republics are entirely locally-appointed. The krajs have a two-tier court system, with lower courts appointed by the local legislatures and appellate courts appointed by the federal government. The High Court of Prekonate is the court of last resort for all cases. It hears civil, criminal, and constitutional appeals.

Second Division

Rights

The Second Division, which is the most frequently cited and amended, is an expression of the general will of the Prekovi people. Among other things, it extends positive and negative rights to Prekovi citizens. These rights are explicitly limited in some cases (e.g. the right to property, except when the common good requires it to be expropriated), and textually unlimited in others (e.g. the right to due process of law).

Purpose of government

The Provisions outline a vision of government as an instrument for articulating and practicing the values of Prekonate's civilization. Only persons capable of thinking and acting independently have a place in such a government, because only they are capable of accurately transmitting the interests and values of the civilization. The free person is contrasted with the subservient person, who is excluded from participation in government because he is under the control of another, and could inappropriately magnify the interests and values of his controller. The Second Division defines three groups as being presumptively subservient: married women, dependent children, and Mongolics. Subsequent case law has expanded subservient peoples to include idiots, prisoners, the mentally ill, and persons belonging to "infant races."

Interpretation

Any federally-appointed court may review laws for constitutionality.

Prekovi judges apply the principle that local laws should not contradict the text or spirit of the Provisions (purposive approach). If too many of a local legislature's laws are nullified by the courts, it may be placed in receivership, and its ability to make laws temporarily canceled.

In practice

Prekovi legal culture extols the legitimacy of laws passed by local legislatures, in line with the principle that Prekonate is a pan-Kirilic confederation affording autonomy to its constituent peoples to live their traditional ways of life. Contemporary legal thinking supports a narrow interpretation of federal powers, and gives local legislatures deference in matters not clearly engaging the national interest. This narrow interpretation has been applied most readily to the federal power over trade and commerce, which has been read down in successive High Court decisions to apply almost exclusively to international trade. It has also been influential on the scope of federal criminal law power, which enables only narrow prohibitions against subversion and treason.

Influence

Criticism