This is a sample declaration of rights that includes all the minimum of rights that ought to be presumed by democratic peoples today. The document is extensive, because the list of rights and liberties denied by the United States to its citizens is extensive. The extent of our explicit rights and duties are derived from the means by which human freedom – our sole, original right – encounters the changing conditions of specific societies. The social union has to account for changes in, say, the technological basis of the society that it unites. What I’m saying is, we have to put “no killer robots” in our constitutions. That’s the world we live in.
Language found in the Declaration has been taken from many sources, primarily the many international conventions on human rights, other national constitutions, and existing laws expanding constitutional rights and liberties. The section on “The Rights of Victims of Crime,” for example, is taken from existing “victims’ rights” legislation found in many US state constitutions. Also, the material concerning law enforcement has been inspired by the work of conservative Jon Roland, of the Constitution Society. Finally, I have used the phrase “Public Power” as a stand-in for the totality of various governments in the Union, whether federal, state, or local. All of these governments have the responsibility for executing these rights, so I used a term that would not distinguish between them.
Declaration of Rights
Article I. Freedom and Equality
Section 1.01 All human beings are free and equal.
Section 1.02 All persons shall enjoy the equal protection of the laws, and the public powers of the United States are responsible for making such equality real and effective for all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States.
Section 1.03 No human being may be discriminated against on the basis of race or ethnicity, sex or gender, national origin or migration, language and culture, religion, philosophy or creed, sexual orientation or identity, health status or disability, or familial or social status, and no discrimination shall be permitted with the intent or effect of nullifying or encroaching upon the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on equal terms, of the rights and liberties of every person.
Article II. Citizenship
Section 2.01 All persons born or naturalized within the territory of the United States shall be a Citizen of the United States.
Article III. Right to Vote and Participate
Section 3.01 The People, the body of whom shall consist of all citizens of the United States, shall possess inalienably all sovereign power.
Section 3.02 All officers of the public power are the servants and trustees of the People.
Section 3.03 All citizens have the right to vote in free and universal elections by secret ballot, and no citizen may be disenfranchised for any reason.
Section 3.04 All citizens have the right to stand for, and if elected, hold office, with the exceptions established by the Constitution.
Section 3.05 All citizens have the right to participate in the political and public affairs of the nation, and to participate in the administration of the public power.
Article IV. Freedom of Expression
Section 4.01 All persons have the right to the freedom of speech and expression of their views.
Section 4.02 Censorship is prohibited.
Section 4.03 All persons have the right to the freedom of artistic expression and creation.
Section 4.04 The right to the freedom of speech and expression does not protect persons from civil liability for libel, slander, or harassment, nor from the obligation to respect fair deliberative procedures, nor fraud.
Article V. Freedom of Publication and Media
Section 5.01 The freedom of the press, radio, television, internet, and any other media is guaranteed.
Article VI. Freedom of Information
Section 6.01 All persons have the right to acquire information from generally accessible sources.
Section 6.02 All persons have the right to public information, including complete access to all the records, documents, or other material of the public power without censorship or the interference of the public power.
Section 6.03 All persons exposing malfeasance in the public power or any association to the public may not suffer penalties for such exposure.
Article VII. Freedom of Conscience, Religion, and Worship
Section 7.01 All persons have the right to the freedom of thought and conscience, and to religious practice and worship, not to practice any religion, or to profess against religion, and no person shall persecuted on the basis of their thought, conscience, or religious or philosophical beliefs.
Section 7.02 No religion or religious practice may be established in law, nor shall the public power enforce or enjoin the participation of others in religious practices, nor prevent the exercise of religious freedom.
Article VIII. Freedom of Assembly
Section 8.01 All persons have the right to freely assemble in public spaces, peacefully and unarmed, without the need for prior authorization or the presence of armed officers.
Section 8.02 All persons have the right to engage in public celebrations, petitions, protests, demonstrations, strikes, civil disobedience, and all other public gatherings.
Article IX. Freedom of Association
Section 9.01 All persons have the right to form, join, and leave associations.
Section 9.02 All persons have the right to form and join trade or labor unions and professional associations in defense of his or her rights and interests.
Section 9.03 No association of persons possesses the rights of natural persons, but only those rights as determined by law, and may be required to expose to the public their constitutions, practices, and expenses.
Article X. The Freedom of Movement
Section 10.01 All persons have the right to move freely and settle anywhere in the nation.
Section 10.02 All persons have the right to leave and return to the nation freely.
Section 10.03 All persons who have suffered political persecution shall be welcomed to the United States.
Section 10.04 No person who has committed crimes against humanity shall be permitted to enter the United States.
Article XI. Right to Private Property
Section 11.01 All persons have the right to ownership in personal possessions and primary residence.
Section 11.02 The right of persons to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, personal communications, and effects against unreasonable seizures and searches may not be violated, but by warrant issued upon probable cause.
Section 11.03 No person may be deprived of their personal property, nor forced from their primary residence, without the due process of law.
Section 11.04 All residences are inviolable, and may not be entered against the will of its residents, except in the case of a serious threat to the life or safety of persons within.
Section 11.05 All persons have the right to attribution for their creative work.
Section 11.06 All persons have the right to the possession of the personal means of protection, including firearms.
Section 11.07 All persons have the right to self-employment and the ownership of personal and family businesses.
Section 11.08 All persons have the right to bequeath and inherit personal possessions, residences, and personal and family businesses.
Section 11.09 All compulsory purchase of property shall be compensated in full, and property acquired through compulsory purchase shall be used only for public purposes.
Section 11.10 All other rights to private property are founded in law and thus subject to any and all taxation, regulation, and expropriation for public purposes.
Article XII. Right to Privacy and Reputation
Section 12.01 All persons have the right to privacy in their personal data, information, cognitions, anatomy, correspondence, and communications.
Section 12.02 All persons not serving in public office have the right to the protection of their reputation against defamation, slander, libel, and misrepresentation.
Article XIII. Right to Family
Section 13.01 All persons have the right to form families and other domestic unions, based upon the free and equal consent of adult persons.
Section 13.02 All families and other domestic unions shall have the right to the guardianship of children, provided that such guardianship protects the best interests of its children.
Article XIV. Rights of Children and Young People
Section 14.01 All persons of the age of eighteen years or older shall be considered to be of the age of majority.
Section 14.02 No person younger than the age of majority shall be held criminally or civilly liable for their actions, shall have special consideration in law, and be sentenced by courts accordingly.
Section 14.03 All children have the right to special protection and consideration by families or other domestic arrangements, communities, and the public power, particularly against all forms of abandonment, discrimination, violence, oppression, sexual abuse, and exploitation.
Article XV. Rights of Seniors
Section 15.01 All senior persons have the right to the full exercise of their rights and autonomy, and any assistance needed for such purposes, and to the guarantee of their quality of life, with an income not less than is guaranteed to the worker.
Article XVI. Rights of the Disabled
Section 16.01 All disabled persons, or persons with special needs, have the right to the full exercise of their rights and autonomy, and any assistance needed for such purposes, the guarantee of their quality of life, and their integration into the community.
Article XVII. Rights of Labor
Section 17.01 All persons have the right to employment, with a wage or salary sufficient to maintain themselves and their families in dignity and comfort.
Section 17.02 All persons have the right to fair treatment at work, including safe and sanitary conditions, freedom from intrusive surveillance, and protection from arbitrary treatment and dismissal.
Section 17.03 All persons have the right to paid leave from their work for cause of illness and family needs.
Section 17.04 All persons have the right to strike.
Section 17.05 The public power shall have the responsibility for providing employment to those able to work and without employment, or income to those unable to work.
Article XVIII. Right to Consumer Protection
Section 18.01 All persons have the right to diverse goods and services of good quality, to truthful information, the protection of their health, safety, and interests, and to reparation for damages.
Section 18.02 Private monopolies, oligopolies, and cartels, trade and commercial secrecy, speculation and hoarding, and other acts of economic crime shall be defined and prohibited by law.
Article XIX. Right to Freedom from Debt
Section 19.01 All persons have the right to be free from odious and usurious debts.
Section 19.02 No person may be bound to the repayment of debts beyond their capacity to pay.
Section 19.03 No person may be detained or incarcerated for inability to repay debts.
Article XX. Right to Public Property
Section 20.01 Public property is property that is owned by the People.
Section 20.02 All persons have the right to the use of public, open, and natural spaces, insofar as such spaces are not destroyed or wasted.
Section 20.03 All persons have the right to the use of public property, in any manner that they see fit, insofar as the public property is not destroyed or wasted.
Section 20.04 All citizens have the right to the participation in the popular administration of public services.
Section 20.05 The People shall have perpetual and inalienable ownership of all civic infrastructure.
Section 20.06 The People shall have perpetual and inalienable ownership of all of the land, water, atmosphere, natural resources, and electromagnetic spectrum within the territory of the United States.
Article XXI. The Right to Food and Nutrition
Section 21.01 All persons have the right to food and nutrition sufficient for good health; the public power shall guarantee the People a secure food supply, defined as the sufficient and stable availability of food and timely and uninterrupted access to the same for consumers.
Article XXII. The Right to Water
Section 22.01 All persons have the right to free and equal access to the use of water; the public power shall guarantee the People a secure and sustainable supply of clean water, consistent with the needs of a sustainable natural environment and hydrological cycle; all water shall be the inalienable property of the People.
Article XXIII. The Right to Health Care and Sanitation
Section 23.01 All persons have the right to health, medical care, medicine, and public sanitation.
Article XXIV. The Right to Shelter
Section 24.01 All persons have the right to a safe, sanitary, and comfortable residence for himself or herself and for his or her family.
Article XXV. The Right to Social Security
Section 25.01 All persons have the right to social security to guarantee protection in the case of maternity, paternity, illness, invalidity, catastrophic illness, disability, special needs, occupational risks, loss of employment, unemployment, old age, loss of parents or spouse, housing, burdens deriving from family life, and any other social welfare circumstances.
Article XXVI. Right to Education
Section 26.01 All persons have the right to free and equal access to education of all kinds, and at all times in their lives, to the highest levels of education, scientific research, and artistic creativity, for the free and full development of all individuals.
Article XXVII. The Right to Academic and Scientific Freedom
Section 27.01 All persons have the right to pursue scientific, intellectual, academic, technical and all other knowledge and research, and to publish research without censorship.
Section 27.02 The public power shall protect the rights of persons and animals employed in research, and no person shall be subjected to medical or other scientific experimentation against their will or without their consent or knowledge.
Article XXVIII. Right to the Natural Environment
Section 28.01 All persons, including future generations, have the right to a clean and sustainable natural environment free of pollution and toxins.
Section 28.02 The public power has the duty to protect the environment from pollution, ensure the persistence of ecosystems indefinitely, protect and advance biodiversity, protect endangered species from extinction, and to preserve natural resources.
Section 28.03 The public power has the duty to establish precautions, restrictions, and regulations of industry and other social activities by law for the preservation of a clean and sustainable natural environment.
Section 28.04 The public power shall establish natural parks and reserves for wildlife, endangered species, and endangered ecosystems, both on land and in water.
Section 28.05 The public power has the duty to prevent climate change and other ecological catastrophe as far as it is able, or to mitigate its effects where it is not able to prevent change.
Article XXIX. Rights of Animals
Section 29.01 The guardians and trustees of domesticated and livestock animals have the duty to keep such animals free from unnecessary pain and suffering.
Section 29.02 Animals may be used in scientific experimentation only when other means of performing research is impossible.
Article XXX. Right to Life
Section 30.01 All persons have the right to life, and the protection thereof.
Section 30.02 The public power shall deprive no person of his or her life, except in the case that lethal force is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious injury.
Section 30.03 There shall be no death penalty in the United States.
Article XXXI. Right to Public Safety
Section 31.01 All persons have the right to public safety and security.
Section 31.02 All persons have the right of self-defense against imminent violence to their person, and the right to defend the lives of others against imminent violence to them.
Section 31.03 All citizens have the right to make arrests, without warrant, of persons if he or she has demonstrable reason to believe that such persons are committing a felony.
Article XXXII. Protection against Arbitrary Treatment
Section 32.01 The authority of an officer of the public power exists only for as long and to the extent that he or she exercises her or his official powers according to the law, and to any orders and regulations enacting law.
Section 32.02 All persons have the right to resist false arrest, or otherwise unlawful or arbitrary assault, detention, or deprivation of liberty, on the part of officers of the public power not adhering to procedures determined by law and the Constitution.
Section 32.03 No person shall be required to prove their identity to officers of the public power unless such person has been placed under arrest and charged with a crime.
Section 32.04 All persons have the right to record the names and activities of officers of the public power, and to demand proof of their authority.
Section 32.05 No officers of the public power shall initiate, instigate, or otherwise enjoin citizens to engage in criminal acts, nor reward citizens formally or informally for information regarding crimes.
Section 32.06 Any officers of the public power commanding or carrying out unlawful or arbitrary acts shall be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Section 32.07 All officers of the public power organized for the purpose of enforcing law or exercising lawful coercion shall not bear firearms against unarmed persons.
Section 32.08 All officers of the public power are subject to the authority of local administration.
Section 32.09 The public power shall not use military means, organization, armament, equipment, or methods to enforce law, except by the necessities endured by invasion.
Article XXXIII. Public Warrant
Section 33.01 The legitimacy of the public power against persons shall issue by warrant, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution.
Section 33.02 A warrant may not issue except on probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons and things to be seized.
Section 33.03 No general warrants, to search any suspected places, or to apprehend any suspected person, shall be granted.
Section 33.04 Officers of the public power may not enter a residence of any kind without prior notification, and, in the absence of a warrant, prior permission, unless distress is evident, or if the residence is under threat.
Section 33.05 Any person involved in executing a warrant must take all reasonable precautions to avoid injury to any person, destruction of evidence, and damage to property.
Article XXXIV. Criminal Law
Section 34.01 All criminal law shall be public, with all actions to be considered crimes clearly specified, defined, and promulgated.
Section 34.02 No criminal laws shall be retroactive, nor shall be applicable to actions that are not accompanied by criminal intent.
Section 34.03 Officers of the public power may not interpret, elaborate, or amend, nor create or manufacture, criminal law in the course of its application.
Article XXXV. Criminal Penalties
Section 35.01 Criminal liability is not transmissible, and no penalties may extend beyond the person convicted.
Section 35.02 No person shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, nor sentenced to cruel, unusual, perpetual, irreversible, or degrading punishments, nor to penalties disproportionate to the crime for which he or she has been convicted.
Section 35.03 No person shall be incarcerated unless convicted of a felony.
Section 35.04 The penal system shall attempt above all to rehabilitate offenders.
Section 35.05 No citizen shall suffer banishment, expulsion, or exile, and no person may not be deported to their country of origin without the due process of law.
Section 35.06 No person may be extradited without due process of law, nor extradited in the expectation that such extradition shall result in political persecution, the death penalty, torture, or other violations of human rights.
Article XXXVI. Deprivation of Liberty
Section 36.01 No person may be arrested, detained, or deprived of liberty, except under the terms, conditions, and places clearly provided for by law, and any person so deprived must be charged and presented for consideration by the relevant court within twenty-four hours to determine the legality of such deprivation.
Section 36.02 Any person arrested, detained, or otherwise deprived of liberty has the right to be told immediately of the reason for their detention and their rights clearly and in a language they can understand.
Section 36.03 All persons arrested, detained, or otherwise deprived of liberty have the right to communicate with his or her family, legal counsel, or any other person in whom he or she reposes trust, and such persons in turn have the right to be informed where the detained is being held, and to be notified immediately of the reasons for the arrest.
Section 36.04 All persons arrested, detained, or otherwise deprived of liberty have the right to safe, sanitary, and comfortable quarters during his or her detention, apart from those convicted, and, if a juvenile, to be detained apart from adults.
Section 36.05 All persons have the right to publicly monitored interrogations, to have interrogations recorded, and to have such recordings publicly released and viewed.
Section 36.06 All those detained shall be granted bail by sufficient sureties, unless for felonies, when the proof is evident, and where bail is granted, excessive bail may not be required.
Article XXXVII. Right to the Courts
Section 37.01 All persons have the right to access to the courts for the free and public administration of justice.
Section 37.02 All persons charged with an offense are presumed innocent until convicted, and, after conviction and sentencing, shall continue to have access to resources that might prove his or her innocence.
Section 37.03 All persons have the right to the careful and deliberate handling of his or her case in a reasonable amount of time.
Section 37.04 All persons have the right to be heard in judicial proceedings, with the assistance of competent and confidential legal counsel.
Section 37.05 No person may be tried twice for the same crime.
Section 37.06 All persons have the right of appeal, excepting those cases judged by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Article XXXVIII. Right to the Due Process of Law
Section 38.01 All persons have the right to be confronted with accusers and witnesses testifying against him or her, and to compel the favorable testimony favorable to his or her case.
Section 38.02 No witness may be rewarded formally or informally for his or her testimony.
Section 38.03 No person shall be compelled to be a witness against herself or himself.
Section 38.04 All evidence shall be made available to the parties at trial, and no evidence shall be withheld as secret.
Section 38.05 All persons have the right to evidence in favor of his or her case.
Section 38.06 No evidence may be admitted that has been obtained by torture, coercion, mistreatment, or other wrongful act.
Section 38.07 Confessions of guilt shall be evidence of criminal action only if supported by further evidence.
Article XXXIX. Right to Trial by Jury
Section 39.01 All persons have the right to be tried or otherwise judged in matters of fact by a fair and impartial jury in all judicial proceedings.
Section 39.02 No person may be barred from jury service, excepting those persons who have a conflict of interest in particular cases before the court.
Section 39.03 All juries shall have the right to judge, by consensus, law as well as fact.
Section 39.04 No jury shall be bound by the decisions of the presiding judge, and the presiding judge may not issue penalties upon the jury.
Section 39.05 All juries must be informed of their rights and powers by the presiding judge.
Section 39.06 No person shall be held to answer for a felony except on indictment of a grand jury in advance of a trial.
Section 39.07 No citizen shall be impeded from access to a grand jury for the purpose of prosecuting crimes, or for other purposes of the administration of justice.
Article XL. Rights of Victims of Crime
Section 40.01 The public power shall ensure that persons who have suffered harm to their physical, mental or sexual integrity as the result of a criminal act receive support and are adequately compensated if they experience financial difficulties as a result of that criminal act.
Article XLI. Rights of the Convicted
Section 41.01 All penalties must be separately and explicitly proven as justified and necessary based on the facts accepted and the verdict given, and no penalties may be added by the penal administration beyond what is given by the courts.
Section 41.02 All persons falsely convicted and sentenced have the right to release and compensation.
Article XLII. The Conduct of War
Section 42.01 The United States shall not maintain standing armies in times of peace.
Section 42.02 The military power of the United States shall be kept in real and effective strict subordination to the civil power at all times, and may not be used for civil purposes or law enforcement within the boundaries of the United States.
Section 42.03 The United States forswears means of warfare that are contrary to the established laws of war, including aggression, threats of aggression, or interference in the domestic affairs of other nations for any reason whatsoever, and shall seek to resolve conflicts through the use of diplomacy insofar as is possible.
Section 42.04 The public powers of the United States are forbidden from surrendering to foreign nations whose forces have invaded the United States.
Section 42.05 The public power shall not undertake violence against civilian infrastructure or non-combatants, in war or otherwise, nor carry out assassinations against any person, and shall treat all non-combatants and prisoners of war according to the laws of war.
Section 42.06 The public power shall not send military forces abroad except in time of war, shall return all military forces to the United States on the conclusion of the peace, and shall not maintain military forces on foreign or international soil, waters, airspace, or outer space.
Section 42.07 No person has the right to pursue commerce in war, and private military forces and services are prohibited within the territory of the United States, and the sale or sending of military arms and equipment abroad is prohibited.
Section 42.08 The public power shall not produce or make available to other nations weapons of mass destruction either nuclear, chemical, biological, or other means yet to be developed, and shall seek to eliminate all such weapons; the Public Power shall never use any weapon of mass destruction for any reason.
Article XLIII. Absolute Prohibitions
Section 43.01 The rule of law may not be violated, regardless of circumstance.
Section 43.02 No officer of the public power may prevaricate, or otherwise knowingly provide false information, to any citizen, without being subject to criminal penalties determined by law.
Section 43.03 No person may be tortured, abused, or exceptionally deprived, for any purpose.
Section 43.04 Slavery and human trafficking is prohibited.
Section 43.05 The use of robotics for lethal or coercive purposes is prohibited.
Section 43.06 No person shall be subjected to invasions of their body or cognitions, nor be subjected to medical or other scientific experimentation, against his or her will or without his or her consent or knowledge.
Section 43.07 All officers of the public power found guilty of violating this section by performing, commanding, or knowingly allowing absolutely prohibited acts to be committed by his or her subordinate officers, shall be sentenced to no less than life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, commutation, or pardon, and no rationale for committing such acts will be entertained to mitigate the sentence.
Article XLIV. Right of Revolution
Section 44.01 All persons have the right and duty to disobey and to resist orders contrary to law, or to disregard law that is contrary to the Constitution.
Section 44.02 All officers of the public power, citizens, and other persons, have the duty to defy commands to violate the Declaration of Rights and the Constitution, and those who follow commands to violate these provisions shall be held equally as culpable as those issuing the commands.
Article XLV. Status of the Declaration of Rights
Section 45.01 The Declaration of Rights is inviolable, may not be set aside or disregarded for any contingency, nor may any of its rights and liberties be waived.
Section 45.02 The Declaration of Rights does not disparage nor deny the existence of other rights not described here.
Section 45.03 The Declaration of Rights may only be amended with the approval of two-thirds of the People.