The Constitution of the United States in Spanish: A Service for the American People (La Constitucion de los Estados Unidos en Espanol: Un Servicio para el Pueblo Americano)
James Ming Chen
University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law
August 18, 2006
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-36
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: 26
Keywords: Constitution, Spanish, English, linguistics, translation, language, interpretation, constitutional lawworking papers series
Date posted: August 21, 2006
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