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The Dictates of Justice: Essays on Law and Human Rights — A book by Professor Owen Fiss

Owen Fiss
The Dictates of Justice: Essays on Law and Human Rights
Republic of Letters Publishing, 2011

In 1985, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law Owen Fiss was called to Argentina to advise its president, Raúl Alfonsín, and his administration on the trials that the country was then conducting to hold its military accountable for human rights abuses. In this book, the perspective that Fiss extracted from his experience in Argentina is brought to bear on some of the most vexing human rights issues in the modern world. A commitment to the processes of national self-determination so central to the Argentine human rights trials leads Fiss to cast a critical eye on the turn to international tribunals that tends to supplant national efforts to adjudicate human rights claims. He also takes on the human rights issues posed by the fight against terrorism in the post-9/11 era and once again tries to frame those issues within the terms of national law. He describes how Presidents Bush and Obama put in jeopardy, and sometimes transgressed, principles that had long been part of the American Constitution tradition and that had allowed the United States to speak proudly and boldly about human rights. At times critical, at other times celebratory, this book offers a vision of what a law faithful to the ideals of human rights could be.

Watch Professor Fiss discuss The Dictates of Justice.