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Copyright (c) 2003 Valparaiso University Law Review
Valparaiso University Law Review

LECTURE: Strangers to the Constitution?: Resident Aliens, Military Tribunals, and the Laws of War

Spring, 2003

37 Val. U.L. Rev. 627


Adeno Addis *



In 1996, Gerald Neuman of Columbia Law School wrote a book entitled Strangers to the Constitution, from which I gratefully borrow the title of my talk today. Neuman began the book with this question: "The Constitution begins with 'We the People.' Where does it end?" 1 It is obvious how the Constitution ends literally, with the Twenty-Seventh Amendment or, if one were to be more proper, with Article VII.

Of course, we know that the question was not meant to elicit a literal answer. Neuman was not asking about what the last words of the Constitution were. Rather, his was a fundamental question: who is included in the phrase "We the People"? To whom does the Constitution speak? One could say that a great deal of constitutional jurisprudence is an attempt to supply answers to this simple question. Different answers have been given at different times. There was a time when people of certain ethnic and racial origin were deemed not to be part of "We the People." 2 And for a long while women were not to be qualified members of "We the People." 3 We no longer think that way, at least not formally. But these two examples indicate three important general propositions. First, the history of "We the People" has been one of tension: the tension between America's commitment to a community of equals, on the one hand, and a deep-seated desire to exclude certain groups from the privilege of full membership on the other. It ...
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