Researching a New Taiwan Constitution

I have some friends and associates who are researching legal and judicial reform here in Taiwan. Their research is rather at the theoretical stage, and as a first step they would like to come up with a “framework” or “outline” of what a new Constitution should look like.

They have suggested to me that since the US has 50 state Constitutions, one of these might be a good “model” to reference.

In this regard, can anyone make suggestions as to which state constitutions would be best for reference? Obviously, they would like to have abundant attention to environmental issues, women’s issues, provisions for popular referendums, and all matters which are of concern to us in the modern world.

My own feeling is that in forming/drafting a constitution in the present day, it is probably necessary to have all these matters spelled out in some detail, in order to avoid as much confusion as possible. However, at this stage I should stress that they are still in the “outline” stage … but they feel that if they come up with some sort of good outline, then perhaps they could even invite other “committees” or “public interest groups” or “student groups,” etc. to submit their own detailed content proposals at some later date … (if their research does indeed get that far … )

Otherwise, without a good outline or “model” … it may prove very difficult to COMPARE any suggestions for a new Taiwan Constitution which different groups might want to present … (in some national symposium, for example).

Since they have already decided to go with a US system (as opposed to more of a British system) … , any thoughts on which US state constitutions would be good for reference (and the URL of that constitution online … ) in the present era in this type of research work would be appreciated.

([color=#FF0000]Note:[/color] I believe that the LEGAL FORUMS on forumosa.com are more geared toward dealing with specific legal issues which those of us living here encounter in our daily lives … and that is different from the focus of this question, hence I am posting this in the Taiwan Politics Forum. I hope no one objects.)

Puerto Rico, obviously.

(rimshot)

[quote=“Hartzell”]I have some friends and associates who are researching legal and judicial reform here in Taiwan. Their research is rather at the theoretical stage, and as a first step they would like to come up with a “framework” or “outline” of what a new Constitution should look like.
[/quote]
Being realistic, I think this and this make up the framework within which your friends should be planning to work.

District of Columbia.

Definitely NOT California, with its idiotic provision for amending the Constitution through popular referendum.

Definitely NOT Texas, which starts out by invoking the blessings of an imaginary supernatural being. Law should be based in reason, and nothing else.

A good constitution should have enshrined in it the ideas of individual freedom and equal rights for all, and these provisions should be immune from amendment.

[quote=“Hartzell”]I have some friends and associates who are researching legal and judicial reform here in Taiwan. Their research is rather at the theoretical stage, and as a first step they would like to come up with a “framework” or “outline” of what a new Constitution should look like.

Since they have already decided to go with a US system (as opposed to more of a British system) … , any thoughts on which US state constitutions would be good for reference (and the URL of that constitution online … ) in the present era in this type of research work would be appreciated. [/quote]

Well since they have already decided and are not really researching anything why don’t they do like all good Taiwan scholars and just copy paste.

Why would Taiwan need a state consitution instead of a sovereign one?

That was my thought. Modeling a sovereign constitution on a state constitution sets up a less than desirable precident, or lends itself to implications that the island is a state, a part, not an entity of and unto itself.

Well, no. It makes a certain sense, if you really want to come up with a new constitution for Taiwan, to model it after one of the fifty American states.

Taiwan is a relatively small geographic area with a relatively homogenous population.

Have you never heard that the US states are actually (or sort of) 50 little nations?

The primary political unit of the United States after the federal union is the state. Technically and legally, states are not “divisions” created “from” the United States, but units that “compose” the US, because the United States and the several states that constitute it operate with a system of parallel sovereignty. According to numerous decisions of the United States Supreme Court, the several states and the United States (that is, the federal state which is coextensive with the 50 several states and the District of Columbia) are sovereign jurisdictions. The sovereignty of the United States is strictly limited to the terms of the United States Constitution, whereas the sovereignty of each individual state is unlimited, except in two respects: 1. The sovereignty and powers that each state has transferred to the United States via the United States Constitution, and 2. The provisions of its own constitution, which usually (but not always) sets certain parameters for the exercise of the state’s sovereignty.

As sovereign entities within the framework of the U.S. federal system, each state has its own constitution, elected officials, and governmental organization. States have the power to make and enforce laws, levy taxes, and conduct their affairs largely free from intervention from the federal government or other states… State governments have primary responsibility for providing many important services that affect the everyday lives of their residents… In contrast to the U.S. Constitution, which is broadly written, state constitutions can be very detailed and specific. Many state constitutions go on for pages describing, for example, the rules for issuing bonds or defining the jurisdiction of various state courts. Why so much detail in state constitutions? One reason is that they are more readily amended than the U.S. Constitution. In most states, approval by a majority of voters in a statewide election is all that is required.

Taiwan doesn’t need a federal-style constitution. A state constitution would make a better model, in some ways. So long as a model constitution doesn’t contain either of the limitations, 1. sovereignty and powers transferred to China, and 2. provisions of its own constitution, which sets certain parameters for the exercise of its own sovereignty, then a state constitution might well make a good model.

Yes, I had heard that. :sunglasses:

I guess it makes sense. Any state could secede from the union–but they are united. Part of a larger entity. And lots of folks like think that way about Taiwan. I guess that’s just sensitive.

“For those who came in late…” (as the narration used to say in The Phantom)

Hartzell believes Taiwan to be a U.S. territory, legally speaking. (Alert readers will have noticed this to be a rather unusual–dare I say quixotic–interpretation.) Presumably he and Lin are planning to apply for U.S. statehood on its behalf.

I will continue my efforts at a state flag design and state song for Taiwan. Perhaps some of you have ideas…?

[quote=“Screaming Jesus”]“For those who came in late…” (as the narration used to say in The Phantom)

Hartzell believes Taiwan to be a U.S. territory, legally speaking. (Alert readers will have noticed this to be a rather unusual–dare I say quixotic–interpretation.) Presumably he and Lin are planning to apply for U.S. statehood on its behalf.

I will continue my efforts at a state flag design and state song for Taiwan. Perhaps some of you have ideas…?[/quote]

You already hit the nail on the head with P.R. But we could go with Guam maybe?