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Constitutional Rights, Moral Controversy, and the Supreme Court

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  • In this important new book, Michael J. Perry examines three of the most disputed constitutional issues of our time: capital punishment, state laws banning abortion, and state policies denying the benefit of law to same-sex unions. The author, a leading constitutional scholar, explains that if a majority of the justices of the Supreme Court believes that a law violates the Constitution, it does not necessarily follow that the Court should rule that the law is unconstitutional. In cases in which it is argued that a law violates the Constitution, the Supreme Court must decide which of two importantly different questions it should address: (1) Is the challenged law unconstitutional? (2) Is the lawmakers' judgment that the challenged law is constitutional a reasonable judgment? (One can answer both questions in the affirmative.) By focusing on the death penalty, abortion, and same-sex unions, Perry provides illuminating new perspectives not only on moral controversies that implicate one or more constitutionally entrenched human rights, but also on the fundamental question of the Supreme Court's proper role in adjudicating such controversies.

    • Examines the death penalty, abortion and same-sex unions
    • In doing so explores three of the most controversial constitutional issues
    • Asks what the Supreme Court's role should be in these controversies
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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2009
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511474316
    • availability: Adobe Reader ebooks available from eBooks.com
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: a partial theory of judicial review
    1. Human rights: from morality to constitutional law
    2. Constitutionally entrenched human rights, the Supreme Court, and Thayerian deference
    3. Capital punishment
    4. Same-sex unions
    5. Abortion
    6. Thayerian deference revisited
    Postscript: religion as a basis of lawmaking?

  • Author

    Michael J. Perry, Emory University, Atlanta

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