Author ORCID Identifier
Human rights, U.S. Constitution, Freedom of speech, Moral equality, Moral freedom, Right of privacy
Much of my recent scholarly work has addressed questions concerning the political morality - the global political morality of human rights. This essay continues in that vein; I focus on a relationship I began to discuss almost forty years ago, in my first book: the relationship between (some) constitutional rights and (some) human rights. My overarching claim here: There is a significant interface between the constitutional law of the United States and the political morality of human rights. My principal aim in this Essay is to defend (and illustrate) that broad claim by defending three narrower claims:
1. The constitutional right to freedom of speech is closely related to the human right to intellectual freedom: The former right protects against the same kinds of government action that the latter right protects against.
2. The constitutional right to equal protection is closely related to the human right to moral equality: The former right protects against the same kinds of government action that the latter right protects against.
3. The constitutional right of privacy - aptly described by legal scholar Reva Siegel as "one of the most fiercely contested rights in the modern constitutional canon" - is closely related to the human right to moral freedom: The former right is best understood as a version of the latter right and, so understood, is legitimately regarded as a constitutional right.
Wake Forest Law Review
Michael J. Perry, Constitutional Rights as Human Rights: Freedom of Speech, Equal Protection, and the Right of Privacy, 57 Wake Forest L. Rev. 931 (2022).