Shadowrun: Throw Back
We, the people of the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, restore domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and procure the blessings of liberty and security for ourselves and our posterity, in spite of all enemies foreign and domestic, and the travails of our two nations, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United Canadian and American States.
So goes the preamble of the UCAS Constitution. Though similar to the old U.S. Constitution, its differences are telling enough to reveal the terrifying social disorders that gave birth to the Act of Union and the establishment of the UCAS.
Many amendments to the U. S. Constitution were incorporated into the body of the UCAS document. Deadwood was eliminated, including the 18th and 21st Amendments (Prohibition and its repeal). The president and vice president are elected to four year terms, but by a simple majority of the popular ballot. The UCAS has no electoral college. There is also no limit on the number of terms a president may serve.
The UCAS legislative branch is constituted much as it was under the U. S. Constitution, with a Senate and House of Representatives. Each state, and Seattle, elects two senators to six-year terms. Representatives are elected by districts of approximately 50,000 full citizens, with districts reapportioned based on a census held every ten years. Neither probationary citizens nor out-and-out SINless inhabitants count toward congressional districts, and they cannot vote.
The federal judiciary is structured exactly as it was in the U.S., and U.S. Supreme Court decisions are considered binding precedents in UCAS law.
The UCAS can suspend habeas corpus and various other civil rights in time of war, insurrection, or declared national emergency. Over the past two decades, various regions of the country have been declared in a state of emergency for periods of up to two years.
The first ten amendments of the U. S. Constitution exist unchanged in the UCAS Constitution, and are still referred to as the Bill of Rights. Much of their effectiveness has been weakened by recent Supreme Court decisions, however. Other amendments to the UCAS Constitution include: • 11th Amendment—The rights of UCAS citizenship, by birth or naturalization, are not to be denied to any individual due to race or creed. •12th and 15th Amendments—Expanded powers to state and local (i.e., Metroplex) governments. The central power of the UCAS government is greatly reduced. •13th Amendment—UCAS recognizes contracts between corporations and their employees as binding. Upon due process of law in a Contract Court, corporations may extradite persons found guilty of unlawfully breaking their employment contract. •14th Amendment—The so-called “SIN Amendment,” ratified in 2036, established the System Identification Number, requiring the registration of every UCAS citizen. Individuals residing in the UCAS without SINs are defined as “probationary citizens,” with sharply limited civil rights. Probationary citizens are not permitted to vote in federal elections. Species other than Homo sapiens are eligible for probationary citizenship in UCAS, but full citizenship may be granted to a non-human/non metahuman only by act of Congress.
Government Officals of the UCAS (in order of their succession to the presidency)
- President: Alan Adams (Dem.)
- Vice President: Thomas Steel (Tech.)
- Speaker of the House (10th Congress): William Sorenson (D-Ind)
- President pro-term of the Senate: Marianne Plaut (T-Md)
- Department of State: Gerald Humphrey, Secretary
- Department of the Treasury: Quentin MacDonald, Secretary
- Department of Defense: Malcom Dowling, Secretary
- Department of Justice: Douglass Freeman, Attorney General
- Department of Agriculture: Sheila Erdeky, Secretary
- Department of Business: Harcourt Pierce, Secretary
- Department of Resources: Jay Stein, Secretary
- Department of Human Services: ALexander Dominello, Secretary
- Department of Health: Dr. Charles Hands-That-See, Surgeon General
- Department of Information: Randall Gartner, Secretary
The following table is based on voter registration in the 2048 elections and indicates the relative influence the major political parties wield with the electorate. The remaining 9 percent of voters are registered as independents or else adhere to one of the numerous policlubs or other splinter parties in the UCAS. None of these groups has more than a small fraction of the registered vote.Influence of Political Parties
|_Party||_Percent of Voters|
LAW AND LAW ENFORCEMENTFederal jurisdiction in the UCAS covers:
- Crimes committed in federally controlled areas
- Crimes involving interstate conspiracy or flight across state lines
- Computer crime
- Crimes involving foreign nationals
- Violation of laws passed by Congress
Federal law enforcement agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, the U. S. Marshal’s office, and various local police forces in federal areas like the District of Columbia. All these are under the control of the Department of Justice.
Civil or criminal proceedings against extra-territorial corporations, their subsidiaries, and employees are heard in Contract Court. Should the Contract Court find that a case is more properly a matter for a UCAS or local court system, it may order a change of venue.
Decisions of the Contract Court have been enforced in the past by corporate security forces, economic sanctions against recalcitrant corporations or governments, federal law-enforcement agencies, and in extreme cases, by overt military action, depending on the nature of the decision and the response of the party that lost the case.
CONTROLLED EQUIPMENT AND MATERIALS
Controlled equipment and materials, including guns, are the concern of local jurisdiction. Transport and sale of controlled weapons and materials is, however, subject to federal jurisdiction. Military weaponry and equipment, and cyberware are all subject to federal statutes, and illegal possession or use of such equipment carries harsh punishment.
Any drug defined as physically addictive (with the exception of alcohol and nicotine, thanks to almost a century of high-powered lobbying) is a federally controlled substance, and may only be dispensed legally by a state licensed biotechnician. Similarly, any biotechnical device that induces permanent neurological change is controlled in the UCAS. BTL chips, for example, are outlawed, as are most head-jobs that affect the pleasure centers of the brain.
Various non-addictive substances and most forms of the lesser simsense psycho-addictives are not controlled by UCAS law, though local statutes may impose controls, as in the case of Seattle’s liquor monopoly.
The possession or transport of weapons in Classes A-F is not prosecuted under UCAS law, but may be prosecuted under state and local ordinances. Offenses involving weapons in Classes A-F other than possession or transport would be prosecuted in a federal court only if they occurred in connection with a crime under federal jurisdiction. For example, threatening or even shooting one’s neighbor is of no interest to a federal court, but pulling the same gun on a guard in a government building would constitute a federal case of Threat, or even Intent.
Similarly, Class B cyberware is not illegal under federal law, though many areas control or even outlaw it.
MAJOR FELONIES AND CAPITAL CRIMES
Classifications of major felonies involving injury or death are on the books in the UCAS, as described in Sprawl Sites, p. 124-25. Unauthorized Access to Computer Resources is also a major felony, punishable by 25,000¥ and five years in prison if data is stolen, damaged, or altered. These penalties double if the invaded system belongs to the government.
Capital crimes, that is, crimes for which the death penalty may be invoked, are: *Premeditated murder *Felony murder (any homicide committed in the course of a felony) *Murder of police or military officer in pursuit of his duty *Treason against the UCAS *Rape or kidnapping involving death of or grievous bodily harm to victim.
Periodic attempts by corps to get credit fraud added to the list of capital crimes have, so far, been unsuccessful.
Next Section: Economy of the UCAS