Monday, April 14, 2003

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I'm not a lawyer, but I know bulls@&t when I see it

The San Francisco Chronicle has a story on one man's effort to revolutionize international law:

"For five years, [human rights lawyer Kirk] Boyd has devoted his life to researching and crafting a document he says will revolutionize the way the world treats its citizens.

His may seem like a Sisyphean task, but Boyd -- a human rights lawyer who lives in Mill Valley -- believes the time is right for an International Bill of Rights that guarantees free speech, freedom of religion, access to free or low-cost health care, shelter, education, fair trials and a host of other 'absolute' priorities.

When he addresses the United Nations Human Rights Commission Tuesday in Geneva, Boyd will -- for the first time -- publicly argue for implementation of the International Bill of Rights."

What to know what your International Bill of Rights looks like? Here's the document. To Boyd's credit, it's not written in legalese. To Boyd's debit, it's so contradictory and pie-in-the-sky that I can't believe he's devoted five years to it.

[What's specifically wrong with it?--ed. To begin with, a third of the countries in the world could not afford the public goods required of it. The restrictions on representation include this contradictory sentence: "Only individuals, not corporations or other entities, shall be allowed to contribute money or other assets to candidates or ballot measures, but individuals may combine to contribute as a group." The enforcement mechanism gave me a good chuckle.]

I don't mean to be cruel. It seems clear that Boyd has honorable intentions. But the legal and political foundations of the document and his strategy for implementation (internationalize the European Court for Human Rights) are laughable.

I'm sure the Libyan chair of the Human Rights Commission will give Boyd a full hearing.

Dan's Assignment Desk to Eugene Volokh: How did this guy get funding and institutional support from the University of California?

UPDATE: Will Baude has some additional thoughts on Boyd's attempt to draft a freedom of speech clause.

posted by Dan on 04.14.03 at 04:49 PM


I have a good case but
i feel my lawyer giving me the run around.

posted by: christina curran on 04.14.03 at 04:49 PM [permalink]

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