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Ireland to Hold Referendum on Potty Mouth

The country is holding a referendum to determine if the blasphemy passage should be deleted from the Constitution

(Newser) - The Irish Constitution has a strict prohibition against potty mouth. “The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law,” says Article 40 of the country’s 1937 Constitution. And a 2009 Defamation Act made the act... More »

Jamaica Wants to Legalize Pot, Ditch the Queen

That's some 2016-2017 agenda—and there's more

(Newser) - Jamaican lawmakers have apparently had a lot on their minds lately, as per the government's just-released 2016-2017 legislative agenda, with proposals including amending the country's constitution to dump Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state and make Jamaica a republic, scheduling fixed election dates, ensuring term limits... More »

Morsi Opponents' New Tactic: Boycott Vote

Military gets power of arrest amid continuing protests

(Newser) - The opposition's debate on how to handle Mohamed Morsi's scheduled constitutional referendum has been decided: Boycott it. In opting not to push voters to actually show up and vote no on Saturday, the move suggests Morsi's opponents determined they didn't have the votes to squash the... More »

Opposition Rejects Morsi Move

Egyptian president puts security in hands of the military

(Newser) - Mohamed Morsi's decision to surrender the nearly dictatorial powers he'd granted himself wasn't enough to quell the fury on the streets of Cairo today, as crowds marched on the presidential palace, the New York Times reports. Morsi has responded by placing government institutions under military protection until... More »

Egypt's Morsi Flees Palace as Crowd Rages Outside

Activists battle tear gas, cut through perimeter fence

(Newser) - Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi fled his palace today as tens of thousands of protesters raged outside and police fired tear gas into the crowd, the BBC reports. Liberal activists chanted slogans opposing Morsi's power grab and the country's hastily compiled new draft of a constitution : "Leave, leave!... More »

Egypt Islamists Rush to Approve New Constitution

But opponents unhappy with the document

(Newser) - A draft constitution was approved in Egypt this morning after a marathon 16-hour voting session, but liberal, secular, and Christian members of the assembly have been walking out in protest for weeks, leaving Islamists to approve the draft without their input. The move, which was rushed in order to get... More »

Arkansas High Court Strikes Down Execution Law

Legislature, not corrections dept., must set death penalty rules: court

(Newser) - A split Arkansas Supreme Court says the state's execution law is unconstitutional. The state's constitution says that execution rules must be set by the legislature, but a 2009 law put matters in the hands of the Department of Corrections, the AP reports. Under that law, the director of... More »

North Dakota May Not Be a State

Local historian trying to get constitutional 'oops' fixed

(Newser) - North Dakota has been a state since 1889—or has it? An 82-year-old government watchdog and local historian has been trying, for 16 years, to get someone to notice an important flaw in the state's constitution that he says renders North Dakota's very statehood invalid. The state constitution... More »

Iceland Lets Facebook Fans Help Write New Constitution

Highly-wired country crowdsources new document

(Newser) - The council drafting Iceland’s new constitution is out to bring new meaning to the term “by the people.” They’re essentially crowdsourcing the document, the Guardian reports, using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to solicit ideas and get feedback from citizens. “I believe this... More »

Egypt's Military Dissolves Parliament

Leadership says it'll run gov't for 6 months

(Newser) - Egypt's military leaders dissolved parliament and suspended the constitution on Sunday, meeting two key demands of protesters who have been keeping up pressure for immediate steps to push forward the transition to democratic, civilian rule after forcing Hosni Mubarak out of power. In their latest communique, the military rulers that... More »

Tea Party Pushes 'Repeal Any Law' Amendment

Backers want state rights to jettison federal laws

(Newser) - It could be the law to end all laws. The Tea Party is pushing a constitutional amendment that would allow any act of Congress to be overturned by a vote of two-thirds of state legislatures. It already has backing of legislative leaders in 12 states and incoming House Majority Leader... More »

Average Joes Will Rewrite Iceland Constitution

523 people campaigning for spot on Constitutional Assembly

(Newser) - Hundreds of ordinary people, from truck drivers to teachers, are vying to be elected to one of up to 31 spots on Iceland's Constitutional Assembly, which will convene early next year to perform the first major rewrite to the charter since Iceland gained independence from Denmark in 1944, reports AP... More »

More States Shoot for Guns in Bars

Move triggers heated debate

(Newser) - Mixing guns and alcohol may seem like a bad idea, but more American states are now allowing people to carry registered guns in bars and restaurants, finds the New York Times . Four states—Tennessee, Arizona, Virginia and Georgia—have recently made it legal to carry a loaded weapon in a... More »

Sorry, Tea Partiers, You Don't Get All the Founders

Washington, Hamilton would have hated you

(Newser) - The Tea Party loves to claim solidarity with the founding fathers, as though they’d all endorse the current Republican agenda. (Remember this craziness ?) Well, not so fast, says historian Ron Chernow. “The truth is that the disputatious founders—who were revolutionaries, not choir boys—seldom agreed about... More »

Nicaragua's Ortega Rewrites Constitution Overnight

To give his buddies more time term in office

(Newser) - What do you do when your country’s pesky constitution won’t let your buddies have another term in office? Why, declare a national holiday, and then rewrite the darn thing while everyone’s vacationing, of course. That’s what Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega did last week, reports the Christian ... More »

Nothing Wrong With Czars, Experts Testify

But GOP's Collins vows to keep the 'issue' alive with more hearings

(Newser) - The anti-czar crusade hit quite the speed bump yesterday, when five constitutional scholars testified in a Senate hearing that it was indeed perfectly legal for the president to have policy advisers. They said the principle dated back to FDR and that, assuming the czars didn’t have any actual legal... More »

Montana May Be 1st to Make Suicide a Right

If affirmed, state would be first to guarantee right constitutionally

(Newser) - The Montana Supreme Court tomorrow will take up the issue of—and likely affirm the right to—assisted suicide, the New York Times reports. The case is being brought on behalf of Robert Baxter, who died last year from leukemia after fighting for the right to end his own life.... More »

It's Time for Some Order in This Court

(Newser) - There’s a lot at stake in the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings, writes Ross Douthat in the New York Times, because the Supreme Court isn’t just a court. It’s “gradually become a kind of extra legislative body—a nine-person super-Senate graced with the power of the veto.... More »

Brown to Purge Cabinet After Expenses Flap

Scandal-hit ministers face axe as PM plans government overhaul

(Newser) - Gordon Brown has been dropping hints of a major reshuffle and possible constitutional reform as the crisis over British MPs' expenses continues. The Telegraph alleged today that two ministers fiddled with the rules to avoid paying capital gains tax after selling their homes. The PM is said to be preparing... More »

Myanmar Gov't, Rebels on Collision Course

(Newser) - The tense peace between Myanmar’s military rulers and various armed ethnic groups may fracture into war next year when the government implements a controversial new constitution, the New York Times reports. The constitution requires the rebels to disarm, without granting them the de facto autonomy they currently enjoy in... More »

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