What’s the Constitution Got to Do With It? Expanding the Scope of Constitutional Rights into the Private Sphere

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Rivera-Pérez, Wilmai
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2012-10
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This paper was presented at The 2012 South-North Exchange on Theory Culture and Law held in Curridabat, Costa Rica, May 10-12, 2012. It is intended to be a brief summary of a larger research project, which was submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Juridical Science in Law, University of California, Los Angeles. Part of this project was possible thanks to a SULC Summer Research Grant|This article explores the role that the international human rights discourse has had in the adoption and development of the direct application of constitutional norms to relations arising from disputes between private parties, otherwise known as direct horizontal effect. The scholarship on this subject has largely ignored the study of Latin American jurisdictions, despite the fact that fourteen Latin American countries have adopted some form of direct horizontal effect. The comparative study of Argentina, Colombia and Puerto Rico demonstrates that, at the domestic level, international human rights law has impacted traditional ideas about the functions of constitutional rights, opening the door to a conceptualization that substantially reduces the perceived and long-established distinction between infringements arising from private conduct on the one hand and state action on the other.
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Creighton University School of Law
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