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A Global Political Morality
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    Allard, Silas W. 2018. Seeing the Myth in Human Rights. By Jenna Reinbold. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017. Pp. 208. $35.00 (cloth). ISBN: 978-0812248814.. Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 33, Issue. 1, p. 108.

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    A Global Political Morality
    • Online ISBN: 9781316665701
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Book description

In A Global Political Morality, Michael J. Perry addresses several related questions in human rights theory, political theory and constitutional theory. He begins by explaining what the term 'human right' means and then elaborates and defends the morality of human rights, which is the first truly global morality in human history. Perry also pursues the implications of the morality of human rights for democratic governance and for the proper role of courts - especially the US Supreme Court - in protecting constitutionally entrenched human rights. The principal constitutional controversies discussed in the book are capital punishment, race-based affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide and abortion.


‘… an extremely important and timely work, by one of the most prominent scholars of human rights, constitutional law and religious freedom in the United States. In it, Perry does nothing less than seek to reorient our understanding of human rights, by rooting them in the psychological phenomenon of agape – or love, as in brotherly love or the unconditional love of God, of the highest form. This foundation, which resonates better than liberal attitudes of respect with central tenets of the major world religions in both West and East, allows him to offer an account of human rights that should prove increasingly influential as globalization progresses. Perry's work presses us to think more deeply about how human rights might be perfected from a moral perspective, and not just better enforced. His views are especially laudable in that they draw on what is deep about religious experience without countenancing what is narrow.'

Robin Bradley Kar - Walter V. Schaefer Visiting Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School and University of Illinois

‘Michael J. Perry's A Global Political Morality: Human Rights, Democracy, and Constitutionalism is a tour de force. It is a cutting-edge book in political theory that is deeply informed by a number of disciplines, including modern global history, constitutional law, international law, and religious studies. It is written in a clear, engaging, and economical style. Perry incorporates the fruits of his previous scholarship in this work of fresh insight.'

M. Cathleen Kaveny - Darald and Juliet Libby Professor of Law and Theology, Boston College, Massachusetts

‘I am enthusiastic about the contributions this book makes to the literature of human rights and constitutionalism. It presents an original thesis about human rights discourse and a novel argument about how that discourse ought to fit into our existing structure for constitutional law and adjudication. Perry's position is logically constructed and lucidly presented. In explicating it he offers one illuminating insight after another. I have read fairly widely in the human rights literature and I have not read any argument that makes more sense in explaining the force of the human rights idea.'

Richard S. Kay - Wallace Stevens Professor of Law, University of Connecticut

‘With his usual precision, Michael Perry offers a powerful – and qualified – defense of a political morality of human rights that illuminates important issues of substance and institutional design. Perry's explanation of how courts can enforce substantive human rights without undermining the human right to democratic self-government by using a carefully defined concept of deference, is a significant contribution to his already distinguished body of work.'

Mark Tushnet - William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, Massachusetts

‘Long an accomplished and distinctive liberal-minded voice in both fields, Michael Perry returns here to the contentious question of whether and how an express regard for the international discourse of human rights can and should enter into constitutional adjudication in the US. The work brings together Perry's moderately combative account of a moral core in the human-rights discourse with a perspicuous probing of the grounds for a justiciable bill of rights in a liberal democracy, yielding much for both moralists and lawyers to chew on.'

Frank I. Michelman - Robert Walmsley University Professor, Emeritus, Harvard Law School, Massachusetts

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