RSSExchange: Democracies and the Power to Revoke Citizenship

When Democracies Denationalize: The Epistemological Case against Revoking Citizenship

| June 2016
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Discomfort with denationalization spans both proceduralist and consequentialist objections. I augment Patti Lenard’s arguments against denationalization with an epistemological argument. What makes denationalization problematic for democratic theorists are not simply the procedures used to impose this penalty or its consequences but also the permanence of this type of punishment.

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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.

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Democracy, Exile, and Revocation

| June 2016
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What first caught my eye when reading Patti Lenard’s clear and carefully argued critique of citizenship revocation was a claim at the end of her first paragraph: the power to revoke citizenship, she says, “is incompatible with democracy.” That is quite a strong claim, and my thoughts turned immediately to the fons et origo of democracy, ancient Greece. Weren’t the Greek city-states notorious for the readiness with which they disenfranchised, banished, exiled, even outlawed some among their own citizens?

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Patti Tamara Lenard Replies

| June 2016
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Is the revocation of citizenship—a policy increasingly adopted by democratic states—a violation of democratic principles? In an article published in the Spring 2016 issue of this journal, I argued that it is. A true commitment to the best understanding of democratic citizenship does not permit the revocation of some citizens’ status by others.

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