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Historian Katz Says Constitution Remains Barrier to U.S.' Embrace of International Human Rights
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Historian Katz Says Constitution Remains Barrier to U.S.' Embrace of International Human Rights
Stanley Katz

IN A LECTURE at the National Constitution Center, eminent historian Stanley Katz largely blamed America’s spotty international human rights record on its constitutional infrastructure and said that, barring organized political pressure, he does not foresee dramatic changes in U.S. policy.

“If we are to sign on more fully to international human rights, we will have to rethink and reinvent some basic elements of our constitutional legacy,” Katz said. “More importantly, we will have to struggle to build a domestic political constituency in favor of constitutionalizing international human rights norms that satisfies American popular sovereignty sensibilities … For the moment, I am not optimistic that we are up to those challenges.”

Katz, a professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and visiting professor last fall at Penn Law, explained the historic roots of U.S.’ recalcitrance on human rights during the Visiting Scholar Lecture co-sponsored by the NCC and Penn Law.

 

 
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