Equality in the War on Terror

Today, much public attention and litigation in the wake of the government's response to the September 11, 2001 attacks centers on one or another claims about the government's substantive illegality (such as claims based on the Due Process Clause). This is a mistake. Instead of focusing on the ultimate individual liberty questions, challenges should first focus on equality.

Since the terrorist attacks, the government has repeatedly singled out aliens for special disfavor. For example, the Military Commissions Act blatantly discriminates against aliens - shunting the 20 million green-card holders and 5 billion people across the planet into a different, and far inferior, trial procedure than what American citizens face. Since at least the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment's equality guarantee, such legislation has never been placed in the United States Code.

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