Redress, Progress, and the Benchmark Problem
12 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2010
Date Written: December 1, 1998
The Federal Constitution clearly guarantees the right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."' Yet, judicial decisions construing this guarantee are strikingly rare and there is little doctrinal or scholarly exploration of what, if anything, such a right ought to entail. To be sure, virtually any legal claim premised on denial of the right to petition for redress of grievances seems merely to overlap with more familiar, "cognate" First Amendment rights such as freedom of expression and assembly. Moreover, the citizenry in the United States have been comparatively free to seek redress throughout most of our history. And the constitutional guarantee is phrased in terms of seeking redress; it certainly does not seem to guarantee actually obtaining redress. In our highly legalistic culture, however, it is appropriately difficult to ignore the basic claim that clear legal wrongs ought to have remedies.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation