50 U.S.F. L. Rev. F. 1 (2015)

handle is hein.journals/usfor50 and id is 1 raw text is: 











Coercing Friendship and the Problem

with Human Rights


                                               By ANDREWJENSEN KERR*



     The only way to bc a fricnd is to havc onc.
                                               Ralph Waldo Emcrson

     J ARGUE IN THIS SHORT ESSAY that the foundational languagc of
dignity in intcrnational human rights doctrinc obscurcs the actual
construction of human rights and limits high-functioning animals from our
moral community. This lcxicon of dignity lacks discrctc contcnt, but it has
bccn almost uniformly intcrprctcd to signal somcthing uniquc about humans
or the human condition. Indccd, the trcnding People ex re. Nonhuman Rights
Project, Inc. v. Lavep appcllatc dccision from Ncw York rcflccts how a narrow
vision of rights jurisprudcncc dctcrmincs practical lifc outcomcs for animals
likc Tommy (a chimpanzcc). I usc the prism of fricndship to cxplorc how the
(awkward) provision of csscntial cmotional goods might subvcrt rcadcr
cxpcctations of how wc think about lcgal distinctions bctwccn humans and
othcr animals. The motivating qucstion that informs this cssay is thus: should
thcrc bc a positivc right to fricndship?
     The contour of what class of things should bc considcrcd as rights is
cvcr-cxpanding, now including the intcrnct,1 plastic surgcry,2 prcschool,3
cvcn civil solidarity.4 Indccd, this third gcncration paradigm of community



    *   Law Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. I thank Colin Gillespie and Dan
Terzian for their review of this essay.
    1.  Nicola Lucchi, Access to Vetwork Se rices and Protection oJ Constitutional Righti: Recognizing the
Esential Role oJ Inteinet Accessfior the Freedom oJ Exfression, 19 CARDOZOJ. INTL & COMp. L. 645
(2011).
    2.  Brazil's Poor Get Free (,ometic Sirge, Under Philosopy that Beauty, a Right, NY DAILY NEWS
(Mar. 22, 2012), http://wwx.nydailxnews.com/life-stxle/health/brazil-poor-free-cosmetic-
surger phiosophx beaut-article- 1.1049240.
    3.  David A. Lieb, A .ae Entitlement? The Right to Preschool, HUFFINGTON POST, (Feb. 3,
2014),        http: //Nxv-v-x .huffingtonpost.com/ 2014 /02 /03 /republican-governor-preschool-
funding n 4719725.htnl.
    4.  E.g., Jennifer A. Downs, A Healy and Ecologically Balanced Environment: An Aigument foir a
Third Generation Right, 3 DUKEJ. COiP. & INTL L. 351, 362 67 (1993).

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