Social and Economic Rights? Lessons from South Africa

17 Pages Posted: 19 May 2001  

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: May 2001

Abstract

Do social and economic rights belong in a democratic constitution? Skeptics have wondered whether it is possible to constitutionalize such rights without imposing an untenable managerial responsibility on courts. In an extraordinary decision, the Constitutional Court of South Africa has provided a new approach to social and economic rights, one that respects the fact of limited resources while also requiring governmental attention to basic needs. This new approach might be called an administrative law model of constitutional rights. It contains considerable promise, because it recognize rights to reasonable programs, rather than to protection of each individual, a path that might well be beyond governmental capacities.

Suggested Citation

Sunstein, Cass R., Social and Economic Rights? Lessons from South Africa (May 2001). U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 12; U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 124. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=269657 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.269657

Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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617-496-2291 (Phone)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
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