Reading Notes: Chapter 5 - a Puzzle and an Overview

Apparently, my prior reading notes are quite popular with search engine goers, so I’m going to start trying to keep more notes online in the hopes that some of my random visitors will find them useful. I’ll try to preface all of these posts with some warning in case reading chapter-by-chapter notes on books of odd-interests sounds like a boring way to spend your blog surfing time.

These are from a book I’ve been working on half-heartedly for about 4 months now. I recently pulled The Second Bill of Rights off of my bookshelf and have been working on it again. It’s an interesting book, but the author’s writing style leaves a lot to be desired (but I’ll come back to that… as Sunstein might say).

  • In 1950 the General Assembly at the UN asked the Comission on Human Rights to make a single document that encapsulated all human rights - political, social, and economic. The result was two documents: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The former has been adopted by 147 nations, the latter by 142 of the 147. The abstaining nations: Botswana, Haiti, Mozambique, South Africa, and the United States.
  • with an English common law background are far less likely to contain social and economic rights than those with a French civil law background.” - page 105
  • In describing why America might lack a social bill of rights: ”American exceptionalism: the absense of a significant socialist or even a social democratic movement in the United States.” - page 106
  • “As we shall see, in the 1960s the Supreme Court…” - page 106 - my note: don’t tell me what I’m going to be reading about - get to the point and tell me about it. That’s what the comment in the opening of these notes were about.
  • “… in the 1968 election, as Richard M. Nixon narrowly defeated Hubert Humphrey. Nixon won with 43.6 percent of the popular vote to Humphrey’s 42.6 percent. President Nixon appointed four justices who promptly reversed the emerging trend, insisting that the Constitution does not include social and economic guarantees.” - page 108 - That’s the answer to what happened in the ’60s.

t last note - it’ll be interesting to see what tectonic shifts maintain their momentum out of Bush’s narrow victory margins.