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Restoring the Lost ConstitutionThe Presumption of Liberty$
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Randy E. Barnett

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159737

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159737.001.0001

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Natural Rights as Liberty Rights: Retained Rights, Privileges, or Immunities

Natural Rights as Liberty Rights: Retained Rights, Privileges, or Immunities

Chapter:
(p.53) Chapter Three Natural Rights as Liberty Rights: Retained Rights, Privileges, or Immunities
Source:
Restoring the Lost Constitution
Author(s):

Randy E. Barnett

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691159737.003.0004

This chapter examines the conception of rights held by the people who wrote and adopted the original Constitution and also by those who wrote and adopted the Fourteenth Amendment. If the framers held certain views of rights, their conception of rights was correct, and if they incorporated effective procedural protections of these rights into the Constitution, then the laws that are produced by this constitutional process will be binding in conscience. The terms “rights,” “liberties,” “privileges,” and “immunities” were often used interchangeably or in a cluster. The chapter analyzes the founders' view of natural rights as liberty rights as well as their universal belief in popular sovereignty. It argues that those who subscribe to the fiction of “We the People” precisely because they reject the reality of natural rights and can see no alternative path to constitutional legitimacy are wrong on both counts.

Keywords:   rights, U.S. Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment, natural rights, liberty rights, We the People, constitutional legitimacy, privileges, immunities, popular sovereignty

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