From: “Virginia DeMarce” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri Sep 13, 2002 03:05:01 PM US/Pacific
Subject: Re: Strategic Situation
It follows, with some of the correspondence between Eric and myself while I was working it up.
The function of this Article of the Constitution of the NewUS was to achieve a balance between granting the House of Lords an immense amount of control over its own personnel and tying it up in procedural knots for the next two decades :)))
1) Make the House of Lords restricted to the “big shots.” Then give them the authority to create new big shots. (Since the House as such is basically powerless anyway, Mike wouldn’t really care if it expanded in size.) That, it seems to me, would leave the little nobles squabbling with the big nobles.
Ah, what a splendidly devious idea. It shall most certainly be done. How about:
I. Eligibility for Membership in the House of Lords.
A. Initially, the House of Lords of the New US shall consist of those princes [Fuersten, of whatever title] of the Holy Roman Empire who were entitled to a seat in the Reichstag in their own right prior to the establishment of the New US and whose territories are now comprised within the boundaries of the New US as they have been determined by agreement between the New US and the Captain General.
3) Anyone who is a “noble” within US territory should be included in the House of Lords, even those who — like John George — have their major holdings elsewhere.
This should take care of it:
B. All Reichstag-eligible princes [HRE Fuersten of whatever title] who hold any territory or territories within the New US shall be eligible for membership in the House of Lords of the New US, even when the majority of their holdings are not comprised within the boundaries of the New US.
[NOTE: This will include not only John Georg of Saxony but also, because of his claim to Schmalkalden, Wilhelm of Hesse Kassel :)]
C. Beyond categories in I.A and I.B, the House of Lords itself shall have the authority to decide which, if any, of the mediate nobility holding Lehen within the boundaries of the New US shall be granted a seat in the House of Lords.
i. The decision of the House of Lords as to whether or not to admit additional members shall be taken by 2/3 affirmative majority. This decision shall be taken during the first session of the House of Lords and shall be irrevocable.
ii. If the decision under I.C.i is in the affirmative, admission of new members to the House of Lords under this provision shall also be by a 2/3 affirmative majority of the House of Lords in each individual case.
iii. Members admitted to a seat in the House of Lords under I.C.ii shall serve as Life Peers, with the decision as to whether to admit the heirs of such members to be taken under the provisions of I.C.ii anew in each individual case.
D. The House of Lords of the New US shall have the right to elect its own chairman and such other officers as it may determine.
i. Such election shall be by a simple majority vote of the members present and voting at the time of the election.
ii. Both members by right (as established by I.A and I.B of this Section) and Life Peers (as established under I.C.2 of this Section) shall be eligible for election as Chairman and as any other officer of the House of Lords.
E. Proxy voting shall not be permitted in the House of Lords, just as it is not permitted in the House of Commons.
F. As a matter of protocol, within the House of Lords, during all formal sessions, the title by which members shall address one another is “Senator,” irrespective of their present or former distinction in ranks as princes of the Holy Roman Empire.
2) And there would probably be some provision where, under XYZ circumstances, the other bodies of government could intervene over the issue of who was and who wasn’t a “noble.”
Here we go:
II. Resolution of Disputed Eligibility for Membership in the House of Lords.
A. For purposes of voting and eligibility for office holding in the New US, all persons categorized as “noble” but not currently holding a seat in the House of Lords shall be classified as commoners.
[NOTE: This is not only parallel to the case in England, but also may well have the effect along the line of inducing other politically interested members of the higher nobility to abdicate in order to hold a seat in Commons.]
B. In cases of dispute as to whether an individual is or is not by law entitled to a seat in the House of Lords as of right under provisions I.A or I.B of this section, the matter shall be referred to the House of Commons sitting en banc as a judiciary body. Determination of eligibility shall be made by simple majority vote of the House of Commons.
C. The House of Lords shall by 2/3 affirmative vote adopt a set of standards to be applied by the House of Commons in determining cases of disputed eligibility for membership. These standards shall be unamendable and shall be adopted prior to referral of any such case to the House of Commons.
III. Reserved Cases. All cases of succession disputes within a princely house that occur within the territories of the New US shall be resolved as follows.
A. Such determinations of the successor to a principality holding a seat in the House of Lords by right of law under I.A of this Section shall be by 2/3 affirmative vote of the House of Lords of the New US.
B. This prerogative of the House of Lords shall not be construed to limit or abrogate the right of any prince who is by right entitled to a seat in the House of Lords of the New US under I.A of this Section to, by agreement among with and among the heirs, subdivide his territories so as to provide for all claimants within the family.
i. In the case of such negotiated subdivision of inheritance, each new prince shall be entitled to a seat within the House of Lords of the New US.
[NOTE: In a few generations, that may turn big shots into small shots, given the proclivity for subdivision in this region.]
ii. The House of Lords shall determine, by 2/3 affirmative majority, whether, under the provisions of Section III.B, princes shall or shall not be allowed to designate a daughter as heir in lieu of more remote relatives in the male line.
[NOTE: I’m throwing this in deliberately because at this junction one of the Wettiner (Saxe-Altenburg) had only one child, a young daughter of whom he was very, very, fond (she later married Ernest the Pious in OTL).]
iii. Provision III.B.ii is adopted with realization that it may result in a situation in which the holder of the seat in the House of Lords of the New US will not be the same individual who would be considered eligible to sit in the Reichstag of the Holy Roman Empire by the laws of that entity.
C. When there is a disputed succession in princely houses eligible for a seat in the House of Lords under provision I.B of this Section, the seat shall fall into abeyance until the succession question has been resolved among the members of that house or by means of a decision of the ReichshofgerichtI’ve taken care of this under Section I above.
The one item we forgot to discuss was whether you want to give the sovereign Imperial Cities in the NewUS corporate seats in the House of Lords in their own right. There will be three or four in the Franconian territories that GA assigned to Grantville (I won’t look up just which ones until you decide the question). Do you want to handle each of them as a principality with a seat in the House of Lords in its own right, while also letting the people vote for a delegate to the House of Commons, since the city as such is a territorial ruler?