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May 2, 2008

Frank I. Michelman on Socioeconomic Rights in Constitutional Law

Though this blog has not spent time highlighting socioeconomic rights papers, Frank I. Michelman recently presented a draft of a theoretical, yet approachable, piece: "Socioeconomic Rights in constitutional law: explaining America away."  The abstract is below:

The apparent omission of a socioeconomic commitment from United States
constitutional law gives rise to continuing debate. The case is unclear that
this omission has any likely bearing on the actual performance of American
governments in the social welfare field. Might there be other reasons for
treating the omission as problematic? If so, might the omission
nevertheless be explained in terms consistent with belief that some kind of
socioeconomic commitment ideally belongs in the constitutional law of a
country like the U.S.? After briefly reviewing the uneasy instrumental case
for a constitutionalized socioeconomic commitment, this article suggests a
different possible ground for favoring inclusion as a matter of political-moral
principle. It then canvasses possible responses to the American case.
These include both a possible denial that socioeconomic guarantees are in
fact lacking from U.S. constitutional law, and a possible claim that omitting
them is the correct choice for the U.S. as a matter of “non-ideal” political
morality.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

May 2, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink

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