UofT Law faculty authors: 

Patrick Macklem. "The Sovereignty of Human Rights: A Reply to Four Critiques", (2017) 15:1 Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies 122–137.


This essay is a reply to four critiques of the thesis advanced in The Sovereignty of Human Rights, published in this special issue of the Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies. The first claims that practices associated with human rights in the international arena bear a loose conceptual and methodological relationship to the role that the book ascribes to human rights in international law. The second highlights the practice of actors who circumvent the state to engage directly with multinational corporate human rights abuses, which The Sovereignty of Human Rights fails to treat as salient to the theoretical architecture of international human rights law. The third characterizes the book’s account of the right to development as, at best, an optimistic overstatement of its efficacy and, at worst, a hindrance to development efforts by states at the receiving end of international assistance. The final contribution explores the under-theorized relationship between the book’s thesis and the burgeoning scholarship on global constitutionalism, implicitly suggesting that it underplayed the hand that it dealt itself. Each is addressed in turn.