Thursday, March 09, 2006

random poll #1

do you believe that the Bill of Rights (Amendments I - X of the Constitution of the United States of America) was meant by its authors to include all people within the jurisdiction of the U.S., or only legal citizens of the U.S.?


At 3/17/2006 5:24 PM, Blogger Ernest said...

Given that the first line of the Constitution is "We the People of the United States of America..." I suspect that the framers intended for all of the laws within the Constitution (including any subsequent amendments such as the Bill of Rights) to apply to US citizens.

That said, I think it makes practical and moral sense to apply the Bill of Rights equally to all who are within US jurisdiction.

At 3/18/2006 8:18 PM, Blogger Algernon said...

I suppose I'm actually thinking of the Declaration of Independence, which I take to be, in a sense, the spirit of the new United States, where the Constitution defined the substance of the new nation.

I'm reminded of something my father had said on the subject, when he suggested-- no, I think he truly believed-- that (what I take to be) both documents were meant to apply to all humankind. Obviously not in a strictly legal sense, but at least in practical terms, to apply to all people within our influence. The Declaration asserts "certain unalienable Rights" and he believed those rights indeed belonged to "all men" (today we take for granted that it extend to all people). And I think he included foreigners as well. Clearly there are legal rights and privileges reserved for citizens, whether born or naturalized, but the concept of a new standard of human decency or autonomy--- let alone governance--- was intended, by the text, for all da peeps.

The whole idea was new to me (duh) and made me think about it. It was offered, as I recall, in a discussion about rights of non-citizens in the U.S. (vis a vis some of the Bill of Rights rights--- e.g., search and seizure, etc.).


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