Orion Digest №37 — ESF Structure: Federal Judiciary
Within the structure that we have laid out, the two primary branches of international federal government are the Parliament and the Judiciary, with the former handling lawmaking, and the latter handling the justice system and interpretation of the Constitution. In an eco-socialist federation, the functions of the judicial branch of government, as well as the size, are expanded to cover more thorough application of constitutional authority, as a means of safeguarding against potential government corruption within elected representatives of Parliament and the departments of the lower executive bureaucracy.
When a federation is created, the territory it encompasses it is to be officially divided into regions, for purposes of voting, taxes, and representation. For each region in the federation, there is to be elected an arbiter — elected officials who act as heads of the Judiciary in their respective regions. Like those of the institutional house of the Parliament, arbiters are to attend a separate institution publicly funded to educate students on legal matters for purposes of interpretation and judgement. Graduates of this judicial institution are capable of running for elected office by vote of the citizens of their region, and are to serve eight year terms.
At the federal level, there are two primary functions for an arbiter. There shall be an international criminal court for cases either appealed or starting out on a global scale, and in this case, a council of arbiters from the respective regions of the case and others available to total no more than 12 (unless the case affects more than 12 regions), shall convene to hear the case and pass judgement. The second function will be a permanent standing council of no more than 60 arbiters, sitting for four month terms, that review legislation passed by Parliament to ensure it is constitutional before it goes into effect. If the council comes to a majority agreement that a certain policy violates the constitution, it will be sent back for appeal.
The next duty of the arbiter is to appoint their staff and regional judges. An arbiter’s staff functions much like an agency in the bureaucracy — hired employees that manage the affairs of an arbiter and fulfill the functions in both higher councils that an arbiter is not individually able to, like deciding case schedules and handling more detailed review of Parliamentary policy. Arbiter staff can be appointed and fired at their discretion, and will continue to be employed when an arbiter’s term ends, carrying over to the next. On the other hand, regional judge appointments must be confirmed by Parliament, and serve longer terms; they have their own staff they can appoint for regional affairs, separate from the concerns of the arbiters.
While the federal Parliament is altogether separate from state legislation, the Judiciary differs in that it connects to the smallest levels of jurisdiction in the federation — extending from the global government to regional governance. Regional judges are appointed by and answer to the arbiters, who make up the global Judiciary. There is one section of the Judiciary not directly tied to the federal Judiciary — nation states have their own governments, and with those, their own judicial systems, which primarily consist of municipal courts, appellate courts, and national courts.
Regional judges would be both a servant to their nation state and to the federal Judiciary — answering to their arbiter, but also to the justice system of the nation their region is located in. This is why an appointed staff similar to that of the arbiter is necessary — to handle paperwork of cases appealing to the regional level, set between local level courts and national courts, and to review potential discrepancies in decisions made by local courts with federal law. Thus, the decisions made by regional judges would be engines of change for regional law, but not national law (though such change could influence national courts to similarly adopt changes).
Regional courts, while appointed by federal arbiters, would answer to national courts on matters of national law, and so the issue arises if a federal court issues a mandate that conflicts with a regional judge’s decisions based on federal law. In that case, it is at the discretion of the judge to pursue the case further; it could be appealed to the international court; though due to the size of the federation, such an appeal could take a while to be heard. Alternatively, a regional judge could submit the request to their arbiter, and the arbiter could bring up the case; though the effect would be the same. Ultimately, in regional courts, the interpretation of federal law is the precedent, unless it violates national law, or is overruled by a national court, in which case the matter would require further appeal.
Outside of criminal justice, the primary function of the Judiciary is the aforementioned council to review Parliamentary legislation. In some ways, it acts as an extension of Parliament itself — a final review of law, to act as another barrier against corruption and ensure that legislation stays true to the Constitution. If a constitution of a nation is truly effective at capturing and protecting the ideals it stands for, it should be the foundation for the government it empowers. Of course, how much that this structure can provide for the needs of the people and the environment will be entirely dependent on the quality of the constitution we create, which is why we must consider it very carefully.
- DKTC FL