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By Richard J. Blaustein
Book Review columns.
Rights From Wrongs: A Secular Theory Of The Origins Of Rights
By Alan Dershowitz
(2004 Basic Books - 261 pages, including notes and index)
Reviewed by Richard J. Blaustein
Harvard University Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has a well-earned reputation as a prominent criminal defense lawyer and commentator on the current condition of legal rights. His recent book, Rights from Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights, reaffirms his important position in legal discourse as the book offers a fresh and timely discussion of the sources, granting, and alienation of rights in American law. Dershowitz’s book is heavily contexted by the post-9/11 world, and the civil liberty challenges wrought by terrorism have caused Dershowitz to reexamine fundamental assumptions about legal rights. While Rights from Wrongs is at times vexingly glib, it is also a compelling book for its sheer concentrated focus on why in contemporary America we need rights, why some rights might be amenable to contraction
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