Rights as Democracy

Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy (CRISPP), Vol. 15, No. 4, September 2012

25 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2012  

Richard Bellamy

University College London - Department of Political Science; European University Institute

Date Written: March 5, 2012


Like many rights theorists, Peter Jones regards rights as lying outside politics and providing constraints upon it. However, he also concedes that rights are matters of reasonable disagreement and that, as a matter of fairness, disputes about them ought to be resolved democratically. In this paper I develop these concessions to argue that rights require democratic justification and that this can only be provided via a real democratic process that involves those involved 'hearing the other side.' I relate this argument to the republican theory of non-domination, contending that it fits the Lockean project of regarding rights as constraints on arbitrary power better than liberal views that place rights outside the democratic process. I conclude by noting the implications of this argument for rights-based judicial review of legislation.

Keywords: rights, liberalism, republicanism, democracy, judicial review, Peter Jones

Suggested Citation

Bellamy, Richard, Rights as Democracy (March 5, 2012). Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy (CRISPP), Vol. 15, No. 4, September 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2016391

Richard Bellamy (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Political Science ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/spp/people/richard-bellamy

European University Institute ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.eui.eu/ProgrammesAndFellowships/MaxWeberProgramme/People/RichardBellamywebpage.aspx

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