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La Constitucion De Los Estados Unidos En Espanol: Un Servicio Para El Pueblo Americano (the Constitution of the United States in Spanish: A Service for the American People)


James Ming Chen


Michigan State University - College of Law

August 18, 2006

28 Constitutional Commentary 347 (2013).
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-36
MSU Legal Studies Research Paper

Abstract:     
Yo prometo lealtad, no sólo a la bandera de los Estados Unidos, sino también a su Constitución, que promete libertad y justicia para todos. Por esta razón, este artículo ofrece al público estadounidiense la traducción oficial en español de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos, anotada con un ojo hacia la ambigüedad interpretativa, la curiosidad lingüística y desconcierto entre las culturas.

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 our 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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

Keywords: Constitution, Spanish, English, linguistics, translation, language, interpretation, constitutional law

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Date posted: August 21, 2006 ; Last revised: September 12, 2013

Suggested Citation

Chen, James Ming, La Constitucion De Los Estados Unidos En Espanol: Un Servicio Para El Pueblo Americano (the Constitution of the United States in Spanish: A Service for the American People) (August 18, 2006). 28 Constitutional Commentary 347 (2013).; Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-36; MSU Legal Studies Research Paper . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=925271 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.925271

Contact Information

James Ming Chen (Contact Author)
Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )
318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States
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