The Sovereign Citizen: Denaturalization and the Origins of the American Republic

Posted by Bernice Jusino on March 26th, 2013 :: Filed under Uncategorized  
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A book launch with Patrick Weil (CNRS / Panthéon-Sorbonne University)

April 8, 2013, 12:00PM – 1:15PM, William and June Warren Hall, Room L104

Roger Newman will act as a discussant

It is about an unknown story: throughout the 20th century, more than 140,000 naturalized and native-born Americans were deprived of their citizenship. The Sovereign Citizen examines for the first time the mechanism, causes, and the conflicting enforcement of denaturalization. The conflict did not end without a harsh battle in the Supreme Court from 1942 til 1971 detailed in the book. The Court reversed the traditional definition of sovereignty rooted in the language of the Constitution and the 14th Amendment: in America, sovereignty belongs to the citizens themselves, not to the state.

Patrick Weil is a Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School and a senior research fellow at the French National Research Center at the Panthéon-Sorbonne University. Professor Weil’s work focuses on comparative immigration, citizenship, and Church States law and policy. Among his most recent publications are How to be French? Nationality in the Making since 1789 (Duke University Press, 2008), “Why the French Laïcité is Liberal,” Cardozo Law Review, June 2009, Vol. 30, Number 6, 2699-2714, and (with Son-Thierry Ly) “The Anti-racist Origins of the American Immigration Quota System,” Social Research, Volume 77, Number 1 (Spring 2010), pp. 45-79.

Roger Newman taught Journalism, Law, and Society in the past. He is the author of “Hugo Black: A Biography” (1994; sec. edition, 1997), co-author of “Banned Films: Movies, Censors and the First Amendment” (1982) and editor-in-chief of “The Constitution and Its Amendments” (1999, 4 volumes), as well as editor of the “Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law” (2009). He has taught at Columbia University, New York University and Hofstra Law School, and was Research Scholar at NYU Law School from 1985 to 2001.

Co-sponsored by the Alliance Program and Columbia University Law School. Contact: Lauranne Bardin, 


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