Conscience of the Senate
No. Call it the Conscience of the Senate. If I ever have need of a conscience... I'll find my own priest.Varkula, The Throne
During the reign of Empress Teleri, all the cardinals of the Synod were granted the abilities now wielded by the Conscience. They used them in a variety of ways, and to the increasing chagrin of the Imperial Senate. When Empress Varkula came to the Throne, she orchestrated matters so that the Senate was able to successfully remove those powers from the cardinals. As a compromise, however, the post of the Conscience was created and its appointment left in the hands of the Cardinal of the Way. The intention is that rather than representing the interests of any one Virtue assembly it will instead represent all the virtuous citizens of the Empire.
The Conscience is intended to observe Senate affairs; to speak on behalf of the virtuous; to keep the senators focused on their duty to the citizens of the Empire rather than their own aggrandizement; and to represent the Synod in the Senate when needed. When the Synod passes a judgement of veto, it is the responsibility of the Conscience to ensure that someone presents that decision in the next Senate meeting. Often the Conscience will do so themselves, but they may appoint someone else to do so.
One Year Only
The Conscience serves for up to one year, unless removed from office early. In addition, no person may hold the seat of the Conscience more than once in their lifetime. This restriction is historical in nature, put in place when the post was first created to limit the power of the Conscience.
The Conscience must be a lay-person; this means that if the appointee has a congregation, they must give up their membership of their assembly and lose the ability to participate in the business of the Imperial Synod for as long as they serve.
As with many Imperial titles, the Conscience of the Senate may appoint a proxy following the normal rules. The proxy must be legally eligible to hold the title so they may not preside over a congregation, and must never have held the title of Conscience of the Senate previously. However being the proxy for the Conscience of the Senate does not then prevent someone from holding the full title at a later date.
The Conscience enjoys many of the same powers as a senator with the advantage that they do not need to worry about re-election. Some Consciences decline to use these powers, seeing their role as more ceremonial; others take full part in the business of the Senate, engaging in spirited debates with their fellow senators.
Member of the Senate
The Conscience may cast vote on any majority motion that is brought before the Senate. They may not vote on a motion that requires a constitutional vote.
The Conscience may propose a single motion for consideration by the Senate each summit.
Voice of Virtue
The Conscience may abstain from any vote in the Senate. The conscience will often be called on to speak on matters relating to the Synod.
The cardinal of the Way may appoint any citizen to be the Conscience, provided that that citizen has never held the position previously. It is frowned upon to name a conscience from the same nation as the cardinal. If the Conscience controls a congregation, they face additional restrictions.
The conscience may hold the seat for no longer than a year, or until a new cardinal of the Way is appointed and chooses to name a replacement. They can be revoked by the General Assembly, the Assembly of the Way, and the Assembly of the Nine.