On Madison, Muslims, and the New York City Police Department

28 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2012

See all articles by Eric Lane

Eric Lane

Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law

Date Written: November 30, 2012


In the years before and after the ratification of the United States Constitution, James Madison offered, unsuccessfully, the view that a formal bill of rights would not safeguard individual liberties in the face of excessive federal power or the failure of the system of checks and balances. An examination of New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) treatment of Muslim-Americans in the years following the September 11, 2001 (“9/11”) attacks reveals the wisdom of Madison’s prediction. Since 9/11, the NYPD has espoused the view that the only way to prevent future terrorist attacks is to closely monitor Muslim communities, in case an “unremarkable” Muslim descends into “jihadization.” Such surveillance has serious consequences for the identity and economic and psychological health of the Muslim-American population. However, the author predicts that neither elected officials nor the courts will take steps to curb the NYPD’s surveillance strategy. This article asserts that, as Madison warned, the Bill of Rights will not stop the security of the majority from reigning over the individual liberties of the few.

Keywords: Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Separation of Powers, Individual Liberties, New York City Police Department, September 11, 2001 Attacks

Suggested Citation

Lane, Eric, On Madison, Muslims, and the New York City Police Department (November 30, 2012). Hofstra Law Review, Vol. 40, No. 3, 2012, Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-28, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2183343

Eric Lane (Contact Author)

Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law ( email )

121 Hofstra University
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516-463-5886 (Phone)
516-463-4800 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hofstra.edu/academics/law/law_lane.cfm

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