Balkinization  

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Iraq and FDR

Cass Sunstein

I think that Jack Balkin, of this very blog, was the first to give public attention to a most curious provision of Iraq's interim Constitution. Article 14 provides, "The individual has the right to security, education, health care, and social security. The Iraqi State and its governmental units, including the federal government, the regions, governorates, municipalities, and local administrations, within the limits of their resources and with due regard to other vital needs, shall strive to provide prosperity and employment opportunities to the people."

Where did this provision come from? It's certainly jarring to American ears. But in terms of the history of constitutional thinking, it is in a direct line with a largely forgotten episode in American history: Franklin Delano Roosevelt's call for a Second Bill of Rights in 1944. When America's national security was last threatened, its wheelchair-bound president attempted a large-scale redefintion of the country's commitments. He contended that we had come to accept an economic Bill of Rights that would include:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;


The right of every family to a decent home;


The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

FDR unified these rights under the general rubric of "security," which, he argued, was the overriding goal of the post-war era.

Though pretty much forgotten at home, FDR's Second Bill has had a huge international influence. It helped to form the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and from that point the contents of numerous constitutions throughout the globe -- including, now, the interim Constitution of Iraq.

Comments:

Along these lines, this is a really fine short essay.

Uniting to Defend the Four Freedoms
http://www.publiceye.org/pra/def4free.html
by Chip Berlet

Mike Huben
mhuben@world.std.com
 

I remember reading your essay, Against Positive Rights, in the Eastern European Constitutional Review, but couldn't locate a copy of it on-line. It seems that your position has changed fairly dramatically since then.

If I recall correctly, you claimed that positive rights would be rendered merely aspirational, rather than creating judicially enforceable claims on government. Much of your work since then - including The Cost of Rights and Designing Democracy - hints at the evolution. I would love to see a blog post explaining why you personally arrived at a new (much improved) position.
 

Correction to the above URL:
http://www.publiceye.org/eyes/def4free.html
 

I quoted these very words not two weeks ago on my weblog:

http://www.notfrisco2.com/webzine/Joel/archives/004970.html

I think it is time that we make this Second Bill of Rights a reality.
 

Nice Blog!!!   I thought I'd tell you about a site that will let give you places where
you can make extra cash! I made over $800 last month. Not bad for not doing much. Just put in your
zip code and up will pop up a list of places that are available. I live in a small area and found quite
a few. MAKE MONEY NOW
 

Nice Blog!!!   I thought I'd tell you about a site that will let give you places where
you can make extra cash! I made over $800 last month. Not bad for not doing much. Just put in your
zip code and up will pop up a list of places that are available. I live in a small area and found quite
a few. MAKE MONEY NOW
 

Nice Blog!!!   I thought I'd tell you about a site that will let give you places where
you can make extra cash! I made over $800 last month. Not bad for not doing much. Just put in your
zip code and up will pop up a list of places that are available. I live in a small area and found quite
a few. MAKE MONEY NOW
 

Awesome blog here! I really enjoyed the topic you chose to write about. I'm definitely going to bookmark you! I have a make money searching the web site. It pretty much covers make money searching the web related stuff. Come and check it out if you get time :-)
 

You have a great blog here! I will be sure to book mark you. I have a health on the net foundation
site. It pretty much covers health on the net foundation
related stuff. Check it out if you get time :-)
 

Cool blog you have. I have a work at home medical transcription related site. Check it out if you get a chance. The URL is work at home medical transcription
 

Holy crap, I came across a blog pretty similar to yours earlier today. I also have one that pretty much talks about work at home no fee related stuff. You should check it out sometime.
 

Anyone looking for some more business plan info?
 

Just visited your blog, it's great. I have a jobs seeking website which is informative and you can find info of different job natures, hope that it will be useful in your job seeking
 

Hi, Thanks for your interesting blog. Keep up the great work! I also have a site & blog about work from home employment
, please feel free to visit.
 

Post a Comment

Older Posts
Newer Posts
Home