This course will explore the legal enforcement of those human rights that are fundamental and are the birthright of all human beings. We will review the international political and legal framework established over the past fifty years to protect human rights. We will home in on how effectively those universally-accepted legal norms are enforced. Conventional legal wisdom holds that where there is a right, there is a remedy. We will explore whether this is, indeed, true in the international human rights context. Specifically, the central inquiry of this course is what needs to be done to give legal effect to the moral norms that embody human rights and fundamental freedoms?
Of those institutions of government charged with the responsibility of enforcing these moral norms, we will explore the particular role of the courts—international and certain domestic ones. In the area of human rights and liberties, the United States has traditionally been a beacon of hope. And so, we will be particularly attentive to the special role of the Supreme Court of the United States in giving meaning to the words of the Constitution and laws that guarantee basic rights.