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The Law Is a White DogHow Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons$
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Colin Dayan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691070919

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691070919.001.0001

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Punishing the Residue

Punishing the Residue

(p.71) 3 Punishing the Residue
The Law Is a White Dog

Colin Dayan

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that to the extent that probable cause and due process protections of the Constitution were ignored and abolished in service to the war on terror, the directive achieving such ends is illegal by any post-Magna Carta standard. Yet, today, legal boundaries are equated with the legitimacy of the government's goals. It is not an absence of law but an abundance of it that allows government to engage in seemingly illegal practices. The chapter then explores this hyperlegal negation of civil existence. The negation of civil existence requires that a person be made “superfluous.” To be made superfluous is to be outside the pale of human empathy. It is in the mind-destroying setting of the supermax penitentiary that the state attempts to take away awareness, will, and responsibility and thereby institute the superfluousness sanctioned by law.

Keywords:   Constitution, war on terror, post-Magna Carta, legal boundaries, illegal practices, civil existence, human empathy, supermax penitentiary

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