Chapter 1: Judicial activitydemocratic activity: the democratising effects of dignity
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The inherent and equal worth of every member of the human family - encapsulated in the term "dignity" - has become the axis around which constitutional and human rights revolve. But although we often think of dignity as an individual right, the global jurisprudence of dignity endows it with a strong social, and even political dimension: courts around the world have recognized that the full expression of human dignity includes connection to other people and the human need to belong to a community. The dignity of belonging, when combined with the human capacity for reason and conscience, allows people to participate in political decision-making, to have agency not only over the course of one's own life but also over the policies and programs that a community adopts as a matter of self-governance. Drawing on the insights of Hannah Arendt, this chapter denotes this aspect of dignity as "participatory dignity" because it reflects the human need to participate in community decision-making and describes the global jurisprudence by which courts are vindicating participatory dignity rights. Courts engaging in this form of constitutional review are therefore not engaging in anti-democratic judicial activism, but in strengthening democratic activity.

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