When average Americans think of rights, they generally conceive of written guarantees, like the Bill of Rights, which provide a framework for the defense and protection of individuals. But America has changed since the Constitution was written-technologically in terms of cars, telephones, and e-mail, and socially in terms of changing marriage patterns, urban violence, and gender equality. A panoply of rights never envisioned by our Founding Fathers has thus emerged. Reflecting the dynamism of America, provisions of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights have been interpreted and reinterpreted over time to protect a variety of rights not explicitly stated within these documents. As the U.S. Congress enters its third century, rights issues present complex problems for Congress and its members. Congress and the Politics of Emerging Rights explores the various dimensions of emerging rights from congressional and judicial perspectives, illustrating both personal and institutional challenges, especially under conditions of divided government and increased levels of partisanship.
Colton C. Campbell is assistant professor of political science at Florida International University. John F. Stack, Jr. is director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship Studies at Florida International University.