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The Rise of Religious Liberty: Made Possible by the Decline of A Public Morality


Prof. Katherine Franke

The Rights and Humanities Annual Series is jointly sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) and the Duke Human Rights Center @ FHI. The series was launched in 2019 to address the links between ideas of rights and the humanities - and to more fully explore the intellectual possibilities of housing a human rights center within a humanities institute. In June 2022, in a 24 hour period, the US Supreme Court issued two very significant decisions: one that read the text of the constitution to provide extremely strong rights to carry guns in public, and the other declaring that the constitution provides no protection for the right to an abortion. Professor Katherine Franke will discuss how these two cases stand for a larger trend in the conception of rights in the US at this time in which the right has successfully captured a classically liberal conception of "rights as trumps". In cases involving gun rights, religious liberty, and the right to resist public health measures during the COVID pandemic, fundamental constitutional rights have been successfully deployed to deconstitutionalize the state's power to regulate in the name of public welfare.


Civic Engagement/Social Action, Diversity/Inclusion, Ethics, Featured, Health/Wellness, Human Rights, Humanities, Law, Lecture/Talk, Medicine, Politics, United States Focus