Friday, August 18, 2006

Yo prometo lealtad

Banderea mexicanaHaving written First Person Plural and blogged about it, I suppose this is one summer in which my constitutional musings have been largely linguistic in nature. Herewith a continuation of that theme.

America, in the words of John Kennedy's memorable essay on the subject, is a nation of immigrants. Recent immigration from Mexico and other Latin American countries has only begun to enhance the American experience -- for the immigrants, for their relatives abroad, and for all other Americans. Ama su vida -- y el cambio también -- con toda fuerza.

In a welcoming spirit, I am pleased to announce my essay, La Constitución de los Estados Unidos en Español: Un Servicio para el Pueblo Americano:
Among the many cultural shibboleths that distinguish conservatives from their fellow Americans, a certain disdain for the Spanish language looms large. George W. Bush, perhaps the most capable speaker of Spanish ever to serve as President, has publicly opposed the rendering of the national anthem in any language besides English, but most of all in Spanish. Scarcely a generation ago, however, the United States government actively promoted the translation of iconic texts into Spanish. For instance, the Constitutional Bicentennial Commission published a Spanish version of the Constitution.

Given the sharp increase in the United States' Spanish-speaking population, this country might someday embrace the notion, pioneered by the United Nations and later embraced by the European Union, that a political system's fundamental law can be expressed in more languages than one. The possibility of placing the English and Spanish versions of the Constitution on equal footing cannot be dismissed out of hand, especially in a polity whose highest court has exhibited increasing willingness to consult foreign sources of constitutional wisdom.

Out of a patriotic desire to serve my fellow Americans, I offer the United States government's official Spanish translation of the Constitution, annotated with an eye toward interpretive ambiguity, linguistic curiosity, and cross-cultural bemusement.
This article is available via SSRN.

Gracías a mi amigo Luis Fuentes-Rohwer por su ayuda con este trabajo.


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