INTRODUCTION: THE STATE OF EXCEPTION Giorgio Agamben's recently published book State of Exception (1) takes as its explicit theme the 'state of exception' that had already received considerable attention in many of his earlier publications. (2) In the 'state of exception', the juridical order is suspended. Modern states have used it to justify bypassing that juridical order--an order which requires due process, respecting recognized rights of citizens, the separation of powers, etc.--in cases deemed to be characterized by extreme necessity such as the threat of civil war, revolution, foreign invasion, and now terrorism. Although it has been called by various designations ('martial law' in the US, 'state of siege' in France, etc.), it is essentially characterized by the suspension of law and 'the provisional abolition of the distinction among legislative, executive, and judicial powers' (SE 7). Agamben writes, '[a]lthough the paradigm is, on the one hand (in the state of siege) the extension of the military authority's wartime powers into the civil sphere, and on the other a suspension of the constitution (or of those constitutional norms that protect individual liberties), in time the two models end up merging into a single juridical phenomenon that we call the state of exception' (SE 5).