The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy serves as the hub of the Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in the human rights domain. The center embraces a dual mission: to educate students and the next generation of leaders from around the world in human rights policy and practice; and to convene and provide policy-relevant knowledge to international organizations, governments, policymakers, and businesses.
The primary purpose of this article is to examine the roles of constitutional courts in contemporary democracies. It aims to demonstrate that such courts perform, in addition to the countermajoritarian role traditionally recognized in constitutional theory, two other roles: representative and, occasionally, enlightened. In the construction of the argument, the Article analyzes the phenomena of the judicialization of politics and judicial activism, as well as the issue of the difficult demarcation of the border between law and politics in the complex and plural societies of today. Although it presents several examples of the constitutional experience of the United States, the Article’s conclusions are generalizable, looking at the roles of constitutional courts from the perspective of a global constitutionalism whose categories have become common practice in the democracies of the world.
Mathias Risse, Faculty Director of the Carr Center, and Kathryn Sikkink, Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, opened the conference with welcoming remarks. Risse noted that 2018 was a year of anniversaries, not only the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute but also the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and of the American Declaration of Rights and Duties of Man, an occasion both for celebration and for critical reflection. Sikkink also noted the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute was a moment to reflect and remember, looking backward to take stock with an eye toward moving justice forward in the future.
"My talk today is addressed to concerned citizens who are not experts on the subject. Many of the issues I am touching on require a much more complex and nuanced treatment but this talk is deliberately taking a simpler narrative."
Read Salil Shetty's complete presentation here: https://carrcenter.hks.harvard.edu/files/cchr/files/can_tech_salil_shetty_01.pdf
“The Carr Center is building a bridge between ideas on human rights and the practice on the ground. Right now we are at a critical juncture. The pace of technological change and the rise of authoritarian governments are both examples of serious challenges to the flourishing of individual rights. It’s crucial that Harvard and the Kennedy School continue to be a major influence in keeping human rights ideals alive. The Carr Center is a focal point for this important task.”
- Mathias Risse