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The word "inhabitant" has several meanings in law depending upon on the
context. In some contexts it is equated with citizenship; in other
contexts, specifically that of the federal civil rights acts passed
during the Reconstruction, "inhabitant" has been held not to mean
"citizen." Baldwin v. Franks, 120 U.S. 678, 690-692, 75 S.Ct. 656, 32
L.Ed. 766 (1887)
After comprehensive analysis of the intent of Congress which drafted
this legislation, this court holds that the word "inhabitant" describes
any person who is within the jurisdiction of the United States.
Upon introducing the provisions which eventually became 18 U.S.C. 242,
its sponsor, Senator Stewart, explicitly stated that the bill protects
all "persons." He noted that the bill "simply extends to foreigners,
not citizens, the protection of our laws.". He added:
This bill extends the equal protection of the laws to aliens, so that
all persons who are in the United States shall have the equal protection
of our laws. It extends the operations of the civil rights bill . . . to
all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States. United States
v. Otherson (1979) 480 F.Supp. 1369, 1370-1373.
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