The Democratic Roots of Expatriation

| June 2016
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Patti Tamara Lenard assesses the justifications given for the right to revoke citizenship in democratic states and concludes that this practice is inconsistent with a commitment to democratic equality. She provides three normative reasons for the mismatch between democratic principles and revocation laws: that the practice of revocation discriminates between different citizens within each state; that it provides differential penalties for the same crime; and that it does not provide transparent justification or due process for this harsh punishment. Although I too am repulsed by this practice, I do not think it is necessarily undemocratic. Moreover, such analysis overlooks one legitimate motivation behind expatriation: the aim to regulate national allegiance. The new revocation initiatives act as a powerful symbolic tool in reinforcing a world order based on sovereign nation-states.

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Category: Exchange: Democracies and the Power to Revoke Citizenship, Issue 30.2, Response

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