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04/29/2017

Michael Perry: Human Rights, Democracy, and Constitutionalism
Michael Ramsey

Michael J. Perry (Emory University School of Law) has posted A Global Political Morality: Human Rights, Democracy, and Constitutionalism on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

 This SSRN posting consists mainly of the introduction to my new book: A GLOBAL POLITICAL MORALITY: HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY, AND CONSTITUTIONALISM (Cambridge University Press 2017). [ed.: The Amazon book page is here.] The “global political morality” to which the title refers is what I call “the morality of human rights”. In the book, as I explain more fully in the introduction, I pursue several related inquiries that lie at the interface of human rights theory, political theory, and constitutional theory.

The first two inquiries concern the morality of human rights: 1. What are “human rights”? 2. What reason (or reasons) do we have--if indeed we have any — to take human rights seriously?

The next two inquiries concern the relationship of the morality of human rights to democratic governance: 3. How does the morality of human rights support democratic governance? 4. How does the morality of human rights limit democratic governance? I address the latter question with particular reference to the human right to religious and moral freedom.

The final three inquiries concern the relationship of the morality of human rights to certain constitutionalism-related questions: 5. In the context of the Constitution of the United States, what theory of judicial review takes seriously both the human right to democratic governance and the other human rights that are limits on democratic governance? 6. What are the implications of that theory of judicial review — a theory that comprises a (limited) affirmation of an originalist understanding of constitutional "interpretation" — for the constitutional controversies over, respectively, capital punishment, race-based affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, and abortion? 7. Should human rights of the socioeconomic sort, such as the human right to adequate healthcare, be constitutionalized — and if so, should they also be judicialized?

Note that points (5) and (6) in the abstract are of particular interest to originalist scholars.

Plus, at the Amazon page, strong endorsements from, among others, Richard Kay and Robin Bradley Kar.