Justice in the United States: Human Rights and the U.S. Constitution

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Rowman & Littlefield, 2006 - Political Science - 285 pages
Justice in the U.S. is a sequel to Human Rights: Beyond the Liberal Vision, and the second in a trilogy on human rights. The Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution explicitly clarifies the personal political and civil rights of persons, and by court interpretation, the rights of corporations. Yet in the twentieth century, following World War II, most world leaders reached the conclusion that political and civil rights were not sufficient and they had to be supplemented with additional rights that would protect their citizens and create more robust societies. By the end of the century, most countries had amended their constitutions to include many other rights, notably those pertaining to social security, health care, housing, decent jobs, women, minorities, cultural and language rights, and environmental protections. This amounted to nothing less than a worldwide constitutional revolution, but it has gone largely unnoticed in the United States. In this volume, the authors compare the constitutional provisions of different nation-states and summarize some of the relevant United Nations' human rights declarations and treaties. To encourage US citizens to think critically about their Constitution in light of the constitutions of other states, the authors present a draft revision of the U.S. Constitution. Of course, revision of the Constitution must be a comprehensively a democratic process, and the authors wish to show how this process might begin.
 

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Contents

The Idea of Rights
1
Appendix 11 Dates of Constitutions for Contemporary NationStates
25
Appendix 12 Amendments to the US Constitution
31
Appendix 13 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
35
Appendix 14 Indicators of Economic Decline and Inequality in the United States
38
The Social Foundations of Human Rights
41
Overview and Comparisons
59
An Antagonistic Relationship
85
Appendix 63 Economic Rights in Contemporary Constitutions extracts
160
In Search of Society
171
Appendix 71 Excerpts from the Preamble of the Cultural Charter for Africa
194
Cornucopia of Rights
197
Appendix 81 The Language of Solidarity
215
Appendix 82 Pluralism in Contemporary Constitutions
219
Appendix 83 Constitutional Provisions for Economic Rights Womens Rights Maternal Rights Minority Rights and Health Care Rights
226
Extracts from Selected Constitutions
232

Appendix 41 Roosevelts Second Bill of Rights
108
Growing Inequalities
109
The Global Struggle for Economic Security
121
Appendix 61 International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights
151
Appendix 62 Fundamental Conventions of the International Labour Organization
158
A Socratic Dialogue
241
Draft Revision of the US Constitution
255
Index
269
About the Authors
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Judith Blau is professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, and is chair of the interdisciplinary program in Social and Economic Justice. While she has worked in various specialties within sociology, her interests now focus on how to expand sociological queries about human rights, justice, cultural diversity, and equity. She is president of the U.S. Chapter of Sociologists without Borders, and co-editor (with Alberto Moncada) of Without Borders, and former editor of Social Forces. Alberto Moncada is President of Sociologists without Borders. He has been professor at the University of Madrid, Stanford, and elsewhere, and has been a consultant for UNESCO, the European Council, and the Organization of American States. His many books (in Spanish) cover a great variety of areas: Latinos in the US, media, education, culture and the arts, sexuality, Spanish politics, and religion.

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