Comparative Constitutional Theory
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Comparative Constitutional Theory

Edited by Gary Jacobsohn and Miguel Schor

The need for innovative thinking about alternative constitutional experiences is evident, and readers of Comparative Constitutional Theory will find in its pages a compendium of original, theory-driven essays. The authors use a variety of theoretical perspectives to explore the diversity of global constitutional experience in a post-1989 world prominently marked by momentous transitions from authoritarianism to democracy, by multiple constitutional revolutions and devolutions, by the increased penetration of international law into national jurisdictions, and by the enhancement of supra-national institutions of governance.
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Chapter 8: Social rights in comparative constitutional theory

Jeff King


Abstract: Several studies have been written about the role of courts in protecting constitutional social rights. Less has been said about how constitutional social rights fit with the broader practice of liberal constitutionalism and the ideas of its key theorists. Accordingly, this chapter examines (1) how liberal constitutionalism evolved gradually from hostile to mildly receptive to constitutional social justice; (2) the analytical structure and substantive content of social rights claims; (3) the role of social rights in the influential theories of John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas; and (4) how, whether or not social rights are directly enforced by judges, they may indirectly serve to reject neoliberal public law, transform private law, and foster social readings of classical civil rights and liberties.

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