Dimensions of Dignity: The Theory and Practice of Modern by Jacob Weinrib

By Jacob Weinrib

In an age of constitutional revolutions and reforms, conception and perform are relocating in contrary instructions. As a question of constitutional perform, human dignity has emerged in jurisdictions worldwide because the organizing proposal of a groundbreaking paradigm. via reconfiguring constitutional norms, institutional buildings and criminal doctrines, this paradigm transforms human dignity from an insignificant ethical declare right into a criminal norm that individuals have status to vindicate. As a question of constitutional concept, in spite of the fact that, human dignity is still an enigmatic notion. a few explicate its which means in abstraction from constitutional perform, whereas others confine themselves to much less exalted rules. the result's a chasm that separates constitutional perform from a thought in a position to justifying its techniques and guiding its operation. by means of expounding the relationship among human dignity and the constitutional practices that justify themselves in its mild, Jacob Weinrib brings the idea and perform of constitutional legislation again jointly.

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Eckart Klein and David Kretzmer (Dordrecht: Kluwer Law International, 2002), 41–53. Jeremy Waldron, “Dignity and Rank,” in Dignity, Rank, and Rights, ed. Meir Dan-Cohen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 14. , 30. 67 Ibid. , 30–1. , 33. , 31 and 33. Jeremy Waldron, “Law, Dignity, and Self-Control,” in Dignity, Rank, and Rights, 47. On the conventional character of Waldron’s conception of dignity, see Meir Dan-Cohen, “Introduction: Dignity and Its (Dis)content,” in Dignity, Rank, and Rights, 5–6; and Michael Rosen, “Dignity Past and Present,” in Dignity, Rank, and Rights, 81.

Para. 31 (lamenting that in Apartheid South Africa, the majority of the inhabitants of the country ‘were treated as not having inherent worth; as objects whose identities could be arbitrarily defined by those in power rather than as persons of infinite worth. In short, they were denied recognition of their inherent dignity’). h um a n di g n i t y a n d p ub l i c l a w 29 terms of the ancient notion of dignitas, Waldron’s theory clashes with the constitutional practice that it claims to illuminate.

These questions delineate the dimensions of public law: 1. As a matter of the normative dimension of public law, if persons are free and equal in their dignity, what right has the state to exercise authority over them by imposing and enforcing legal obligations? And why must state authority respect and protect human dignity over other preferred objectives? 45 Grundgesetz, article 1(1). human d ignity and p ublic l aw 15 2. As a matter of the constitutional dimension of public law, can a state respect and protect the dignity of its inhabitants in the absence of the constitutional norms and institutional arrangements that characterize modern constitutionalism?

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