Toward a Theory of Human Rights: Religion, Law, Courts
Michael J. Perry
Emory University School of Law; University of San Diego - School of Law and Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
TOWARD A THEORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS: RELIGION, LAW, COURTS, Cambridge University Press, 2006
Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 06-32
Jurgen Habermas has remarked that notwithstanding their European origins, . . . in Asia, Africa, and South America, [human rights now] constitute the only language in which the opponents and victims of murderous regimes and civil wars can raise their voices against violence, repression, and persecution, against injuries to their human dignity. Nonetheless - and as philosopher John Searle recently wrote - we [do not] have a clear theory of human rights. On the contrary, . . . the necessary work is just beginning. My new book, Toward a Theory of Human Rights (Cambridge University Press), is an effort to contribute to that necessary work.
In the book, I pursue three inquiries:
1. What is the morality of human rights - and can a secular worldview ground (embed, make sense of) that morality?
2. What is the relationship of the morality of human rights to the law of human rights? In addressing that question, I focus on three controversial issues: capital punishment, abortion, and same-sex unions.
3. What is the proper role of courts in protecting, and therefore in interpreting, the law of human rights - in particular, constitutionally entrenched human rights law? I give special attention to the Supreme Court of the United States.
For a fuller overview of the questions I address in my book, interested readers can download the book's table of contents, introduction, and conclusion.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 8
Keywords: constitutional interpretation, human rights, religion, morality, rights-talk, Supreme Court, courts, democracy, constitutionality, capital punishment, abortion, same-sex unionAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 14, 2006
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