What might a 2016 Magna Carta look like?

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Signed in 1215, the original Magna Carta was one of the first Western legal documents to protect the rights of the individual against the power of a despotic ruler. The rights it offered--such as the right to a swift and fair trial--seem rather basic to us today, but in 1215 they were radical. A 2016 Magna Carta would hopefully preserve the radical spirit of the original and present a robust protection of the liberties of the individual. Here are some ways a new Magna Carta might seek to do this:

  • Prohibit forced service in the armed forces (conscription, more commonly known as "the draft")
  • Prohibit government surveillance of citizens without a warrant
  • Prohibit civil asset forfeiture, which allows the government to confiscate a person's property without convicting him or her of a crime
  • Prohibit official government discrimination against individuals for any reason, such as belonging to an unpopular or anti-government group

 

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