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How Rights Went Wrong with Jamal Greene

Constitutional scholar Jamal Greene discusses how the United States came to treat rights conflicts as all-or-nothing battles under the purview of the courts — and why it’s time for a paradigm shift.

This is a virtual event
  • Jamal Greene
  • Alicia Bannon
 How Rights Went Wrong with Jamal Greene

How is it that corporations have the right to spend unlimited sums in our elections, but a Black defendant has no right to a death penalty ruling free of racial bias? Why does a company have the right to sell private prescription data, but marginalized children don’t have the right to an adequate public education?

According to constitutional scholar Jamal Greene, it’s because our courts “flatten textured rights conflicts” into binary, all-or-nothing questions with clear winners and losers. In his new book, How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession with Rights Is Tearing America Apart, Greene argues that courts should reconcile competing rights, not discriminate between them. In a conversation with the Brennan Center’s Alicia Bannon, he’ll discuss how the United States became so “rightsist,” and how we can shift this paradigm to truly ensure justice, once and for all. 

This event is produced in partnership with New York University’s John Brademas Center.


The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law provides reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. Requests for accommodations for events and services should be submitted at least two weeks if possible before the date of the accommodation need. Please email or call 646–925–8728 for assistance.

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