How International Human Rights Transformed the U.S. Constitution

30 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2015

See all articles by David L. Sloss

David L. Sloss

Santa Clara University - School of Law

Date Written: February 25, 2015

Abstract

Adoption of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights created a new international norm prohibiting racial discrimination. That anti-discrimination norm had been a part of the paper Constitution in the United States since adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, it did not become a part of the living Constitution until the Fourteenth Amendment was subjected to the magnetic pull of international human rights law. Adoption of the Charter sparked a chain of events culminating in the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which heralded the end of apartheid in the United States. Many Americans think that modern anti-discrimination law was a U.S. invention that we exported to the rest of the world. In fact, U.S. anti-discrimination law is properly understood as an outgrowth of the creation of modern international human rights law.

Keywords: United States Constitutional, international human rights law, United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Suggested Citation

Sloss, David L., How International Human Rights Transformed the U.S. Constitution (February 25, 2015). 37 Human Rights Quarterly, 2015; Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2570566

David L. Sloss (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States

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