Widely recognized as one of the greatest constitutional thinkers of our time, in the 1950s Charles Black joined Jack Greenberg, Thurgood Marshall, and others in crafting the arguments in "Brown v. Board of Education". Here Black offers the clearest and most powerful constitutional argument for a national commitment to human rights.Widely recognized as one of the greatest constitutional thinkers of our time, in the 1950s Charles Black joined Jack Greenberg, Thurgood Marshall, and others in crafting the arguments in "Brown v. Board of Education". Here Black offers the clearest and most powerful constitutional argument for a national commitment to human rights.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1997-05-12 Constitutional scholar Black, an emeritus professor at Yale Law School, has long been known as a visionary. This study extends his quest to convince his fellow citizens that the language of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence contains the seeds of a far deeper commitment to human rights, especially provision of support to the poor. His densely argued essay focuses on the text of the Ninth Amendment, which recognizes rights not named, and how the 14th Amendment, which establishes citizens' rights to due process, must apply to the states, that the states must adhere to national standards. Black acknowledges that human-rights law historically consists of limits on government, rather than affirmative responsibility; however, he notes that Congress has affirmative duties to pay for the census as well as other tasks. Thus, extrapolating from the Declaration's commitment to "the right to the pursuit of happiness," Black argues that Congress has the duty "to ensure, humanly speaking, a decent livelihood for all." He is aware that his views stand little chance of acceptance in the current political climate; yet his provocative arguments should nag at the conscience of students of law and history. (June)
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