Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy

Article Title

The Dignity Canon


Human dignity


Human dignity is not a freestanding constitutional right, but it is a strongly held constitutional value. To this point, however, human dignity has had no place in statutory interpretation. This Article argues that courts should create a dignity canon of interpretation, which would operate as a clear statement rule. If laws are to be construed to limit individual dignity, the legislature must expressly this plainly. By conducting re-dos of three Supreme Court cases in the areas of civil rights, criminal procedure, and personal health, the Article shows the promise of the dignity canon.