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Human Rights and Self-Government

In the United States, the federal system of government is undergoing profound changes that compel students of American politics to rethink traditional ideas about national identity. Questions such as: "What does it mean to be a citizen of the United States?" and "What are the duties and privileges of U.S. citizenship?" and "In what manner and to what extent is the locus of sovereignty to be found within the jurisdiction of these United States?" For economic, political, and constitutional developments that advanced national supremacy since the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 and the same influences that are now relegating national sovereignty to the same dustbin of history into which state sovereignty has been tossed, just as state sovereignty was engulfed by nationalism, so national sovereignty is being engulfed by a globalistic network of policymaking and implementation.

A case in point is human rights, or more specifically, a universal human rights agenda that scoffs at traditional American principles such as popular control over public policy and the constitutional federalism that was designed to safeguard popular control. The adjudicative incarnation of this type of case law has already taken embryonic form in the jurisprudence of national and state court opinions. If unchallenged, this incarnation in the next century will be walking upright with the vigor of youth, uncontainable by the cradle-like...

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