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Article: The Scope of the All-Subjected Principle: On the Logical Structure of Coercive Laws

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

Abstract: According to the democratic borders argument, the democratic legitimacy of a state’s regime of border control requires granting foreigners a right to participate in the procedures determining it. This argument appeals to the All-Subjected Principle, which implies that democratic legitimacy requires all those subject to political power have a right to participate in determining the laws governing its exercise. The scope objection claims that this argument presupposes an implausible account of subjection and hence of the All-Subjected Principle, which absurdly implies that all domestic laws subject foreigners. I argue this objection misconstrues the logical structure of the legal requirements enshrined in domestic laws: domestic laws typically enshrine narrow-scope, not wide-scope, legal requirements. To be sure, some state laws do subject foreigners, and the All-Subjected Principle conditions democratic legitimacy on granting foreigners some say in determining them. But the best reading of the Principle does not have such general expansionary implications.

Image: Imperial Federation, map of the world showing the extent of the British Empire in 1886. Colomb, J. C. R. Publisher: MacClure & Co. Date: 1886.


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