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Police and the Liberal State$
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Markus D. Dubber and Mariana Valverde

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804759328

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804759328.001.0001

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The Supreme Sovereignty of the State

The Supreme Sovereignty of the State

A Genealogy of Police in American Constitutional Law, from the Founding Era to Lochner

(p.33) Two The Supreme Sovereignty of the State
Police and the Liberal State
Christopher Tomlins
Stanford University Press

This chapter attempts to create a genealogy of the police in its relationship to American constitutional law. It argues that the police is manifested in state and federal juridical discourse both as an expression of unrestricted and undefined powers of governance (internal police) exercised by the states, and as an increasingly vociferous insistence that the federal nation-state enjoys similarly undefined capacities—the power “to do all acts and things which independent states may of right do”—all rooted in a discourse of sovereign succession and state necessity. This requires drawing together several distinct strands of constitutional law: domestic regulatory law, notably commerce power; constitutional doctrine with regard to indigenous peoples and immigrants; and the legalities attending continental and transoceanic expansion. Because this is a genealogy of constitutional law, the chapter begins by considering police in the context not of history but of founding, that is, the moment of profound rupture with the past when the federal state was first defined and enabled.

Keywords:   genealogy, police, American constitutional law, governance, states, nation-state

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