The Fifth Annual Louis Henkin Lecture: The Human Right to Property

30 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2017 Last revised: 18 Jul 2017

See all articles by José E. Alvarez

José E. Alvarez

New York University School of Law

Date Written: June 20, 2017


How does the human right to property relate to protecting human rights in the age of Trump? Human rights advocates faithful to Henkin’s vision need to combat the dangerous consensus between elements on the political left and right that international law (including arbitration bodies outside U.S. courts) has no business protecting the right to property, for aliens or anybody else. From Hamilton through Henkin, immigrants with foresight have told us why the effective protection of rights, even in states with robust rule of law traditions such as the United States, requires supranational scrutiny. Although the United States is rightly regarded as a strong defender of property rights, even the U.S. (along with other Western “rule of law” states) could benefit from supranational scrutiny in this respect.

Keywords: human rights, property rights, international law

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Alvarez, José Enrique, The Fifth Annual Louis Henkin Lecture: The Human Right to Property (June 20, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

José Enrique Alvarez (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States


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