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Constitutional interpretation

Constitutional Law

2010

Faculty Scholarship

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Taking Responsibilities As Well As Rights Seriously, James E. Fleming Apr 2010

Taking Responsibilities As Well As Rights Seriously, James E. Fleming

Faculty Scholarship

In his first book, Ronald Dworkin famously called for “taking rights seriously” by treating them as “trumps” over considerations of utility or the general welfare.1 Taking Rights Seriously (along with other works) provoked calls for taking responsibilities as well as (or instead of) rights seriously, or for engaging in “responsibility talk,” not just “rights talk.”2 In Life’s Dominion, Dworkin himself got on the responsibility bandwagon in justifying the right to procreative autonomy and the right to die.3 He countenanced that government may encourage women to take the decision whether to have an abortion responsibly, so long as it does not …