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Back to Table of Contents, A Declaration of Universal Rights

Article 2 — Self-Government

Section 4: Separation Of Powers

No bill of attainder, bill of pains and penalties, private bill or any ex post facto law shall be passed, nor shall any person be subjected to legislative or executive trials. Neither shall any person be subject to judicial law-making.

I Timothy 1:8 recognizes that law is good if used in a lawful way. This section outlines three unlawful uses of law. First, it prohibits bills of attainder and bills of pains and penalties. Both legislative acts inflict punish­ment upon persons supposed to be guilty of treason, felony or other criminal act without any conviction in the ordinary course of judicial proceedings. Bills of attainder require the punishment of death, while bills of pains and penalties require something less. Both are prohibited under this section.

Second, private bills are also barred. These bills involve legislative acts which have for their object some particular or private interest and are distinguished from those legitimate bills which benefit the community as a whole.

Third, ex post facto laws are also prohibited. These laws include those which are passed after the oc­currence of a fact or commission of an act, which retrospectively changes the legal consequences or relations of such fact or deed.

Likewise, every man has a right to be governed by a lawful government. Where forfeiture may be sanc­tioned, the judiciary alone is competent to sit to judge that object. The executive and legislature are not com­petent to sit on questions of forfeiture, though the legislature, for instance, may sit for other objects such as impeachment (removal from office). Likewise, the judiciary is prohibited from exercising the power of a legislative body particularly in the context of resolving cases or controversies. See also Article 5, Section 4.

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