Republic or Democracy 13

Criteria for a Constitutionally Republican and Liberal Democracy

1. Elected legislators make all law:  there are no law-making roles for the military, police, executive officeholders, judges, bureaucrats, religious leaders, warlords, crime bosses, or mobs. 

2. Government power is constrained and distributed across institutions. In the U.S.A., power is constitutionally constrained only to those powers expressly delegated. Power is divided and shared across the federal, state, and local governments; across the executive, legislative, and judicial functions; and even within the federal and state legislatures, each of which is divided into a house and a senate.* See also these two pages on the separation of powers from Ballotpedia and the U.S. Congress.

3. Elections are free – anyone of age may vote or run for office – and fair – there are no attempts to bias the results through dirty tricks, use of force, corruption, or abuse of government resources or laws.

4. People may freely organize themselves into political organizations, caucuses, and parties.

5. People have freedom of assembly, free speech, and the right to petition their government.

6. The media are free to publish what they wish (“freedom of the press”), and everyone has unfettered access to multiple sources of information.

7. Everyone is equal under the law, and all are subject to the same laws.

8. Political and civil rights are guaranteed for everyone, always. No groups may be excluded from the political process, nor denied the liberty to live their lives as they please.

9. Laws protect against unjustified state repression.

10. A supreme Constitution guarantees all of the above.

11. An independent and objective judiciary or supreme court upholds the Constitution and protects political and civil rights.                         

* Excluding Nebraska which has a unicameral (single house) legislature.

Over time, and with struggle, the U.S.A. has moved towards substantially meeting most of the criteria in Table 1. The U.S.A. can, therefore, be classified as a constitutionally republican and liberal democracy.[13] 

Government systems that do not meet most of the criteria in Table 1 are classified as illiberal.    Ambitious people in illiberal regimes can rig some or all parts of the system in favor of one political leader, group, or party because there are few protected political and civil rights – or because rights are not evenly protected across groups.  Power becomes concentrated in the hands of just a few people or groups. Good ideas from those out of power are often never heard or quickly rejected.[14]

Excerpted from America: Democracy or Republic?

4 thoughts on “Republic or Democracy 13”

  1. Can you show me in The Constitution that says we are a “liberal democracy” ? I’ve read a “Republjc”

    1. Hi M.S., the word “federal” does not appear in the Constitution either. That does not mean you would be wrong to describe our system of government as a federal republic. We use the word “liberal” as it is used by experts in the study of government regimes. Simply put, it means the quality of prioritizing liberty.

  2. Robert Moody Prevatt

    Politicians should be removed from office for attempting to overturn the Constitution they took a oath to uphold and defend !
    . In our Constitutional Republic, the Government is denied the authority to abdicate the Sovereign Rights of the People, .. . ,,,,,, Preamble of The Bill Of Rights …….. ” THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.” …. .. please take note …. ” having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: ” .. .. .. .. When the Bill of Rights was submitted to the individual States for ratification, it was prefaced with the preamble. The Amendments, when adopted, did not create any so-called constitutional rights or grant the government any power over individual rights; they placed additional restraints and qualifications on the powers of the government concerning the rights enumerated in the Amendments.
    By advancing the myth Amendments grant the American people their individual rights, the government has illegally converted enumerated restraints and qualifications on its power into legislative, executive, judicial and administrative power over individual rights. The government claims it was granted the constitutional authority to determine the extent of the individual rights enumerated in the Amendments and/or impose “reasonable restraints” on those rights. This assertion is absurd. The government does not have the constitutional authority to ignore, circumvent, modify, negate or remove constitutional restraints placed on its power by the Amendments or convert them into a power over the individual right enumerated in the particular restraint.
    A denial of power or an enumerated restraint on the exercise of power is not subject to interpretation or modification by the entity the restraint is being imposed upon. The restraints imposed by the Amendments, which were adopted 4 years after the Constitution was ratified, override the legislative, executive, judicial or administrative powers of the government. If this were not the case, then the restraints would be meaningless because the government could simply circumvent, modify or remove them. Why would the States have requested and adopted enumerated restraints on government power, subsequent to their ratification of the Constitution, if the government possessed the authority to nullify them?
    When the government infringes on one of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights it is not violating anyone’s constitutional rights; it is violating the additional restraint or qualification placed on its power by the particular Amendment where the right is enumerated. The distinction between rights and restraints is critical. [The right is not given by the Government. Our rights are given by God and are inalienable. Therefore, they can’t be limited or taken away.]
    As stated in the Declaration of Independence, the American people have unalienable rights that come from a higher source than government or a written document. By acknowledging people have natural rights, which are bestowed by a creator, the Founders laid the foundation for the principle the government does not have the lawful authority to take away or infringe on those rights. This principle was incorporated into the preamble and structure of the Amendments to secure individual rights from government encroachment; that is why they were designed and imposed as restraints on the exercise of power.
    If the individual rights of the people had been created by the Constitution or an amendment to the document, then they would cease to be unalienable because the right would depend on the existence of a document. If the document or a provision of the document disappeared, so would the right. The belief individual rights were created by a written document has opened the door for the government to claim the power to define the extent of any right enumerated in an Amendment. This has transformed constitutional restraints placed on governmental power into subjective determinations of individual rights by the institutions of government. By failing to understand the difference between amendments that create rights and amendments that impose restraints on government, the American people are watching their individual rights vanish as they are reduced to the status of privileges bestowed by government because the constitutional restraints placed on governmental power are being replaced by government decree.
    Opponents of the Amendments always try to diminish the right enumerated in the Amendments by asserting rights are not absolute. This is just another straw man argument because the Amendment is about imposing a restraint of the powers of the government concerning a right: not granting a right or defining the extent of a right. In addition, a review of the Second Amendment shows the restraint imposed by the Amendment does not contain any exceptions.
    Legal precedence supporting constitution and bill of rights.
    Marbury v. Madison, 5 US 137: “The Constitution of these United States is the supreme law of the land. Any law that is repugnant to the Constitution is null and void of law.”
    Murdock v. Penn., 319 US 105: “No state shall convert a liberty into a privilege, license it, and attach a fee to it.”
    Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham, 373 US 262: “If the state converts a liberty into a privilege, the citizen can engage in the right with impunity.”
    Owen v. Independence, 100 S.C.T. 1398, 445 US 622: “Officers of the court have no immunity, when violating a Constitutional right, from liability. For they are deemed to know the law.”
    Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 1974: Expounds upon Owen Byers v. U.S., 273 U.S. 28 Unlawful search and seizure. Your rights must be interpreted in favor of the citizen.
    Boyd v. U.S., 116 U.S. 616: “The court is to protect against any encroachment of Constitutionally secured liberties.”
    Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436: “Where rights secured (Affirmed) by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation, which would abrogate them.”
    Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425: “An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”
    Miller v. U.S., 230 F.2d. 486, 489: “The claim and exercise of a Constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
    Brady v. U.S., 397 U.S. 742, 748: “Waivers of Constitutional Rights, not only must they be voluntary, they must be knowingly intelligent acts done with sufficient awareness.” “If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being a gift of ALMIGHTY GOD, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.” —Samuel Adams, 1772
    Cohens v. Virginia, 19 US (6 Wheat) 264, 404, 5 L.Ed 257 (1821): “When a judge acts where he or she does not have jurisdiction to act, the judge is engaged in an act or acts of treason.”
    Mattox v. U.S., 156 US 237, 243: “We are bound to interpret the Constitution in the light of the law as it existed at the time it was adopted.”
    S. Carolina v. U.S., 199 U.S. 437, 448 (1905): “The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now.”

    1. Hi Robert, we deeply share your concern for the defense of the Constitution and the Republic.
      Check out our mission statement:
      Right now, we have a lot of people who disagree as to which politicians are pushing unconstitutional policies.
      How do you think we could get everyone on the same page?

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