Hofstra Law Review


Evgeny Krasnov


Within the U.S. policy discourse, it has long been taken for granted that the body of human rights law does not — and should not — include economic rights, which include the right to adequate food, shelter, and health care. This is an irony of history, since the origins of modern-day economic rights law lie in the policies advocated by the U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

This article argues that (1) the common justifications for neglecting economic rights are not sound; (2) there is a pressing need to recognize economic rights in the United States; and (3) the best way to do so is to ratify and implement the International Covenant for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, or ICESCR. This article illustrates how this can be successfully accomplished through a blueprint for enforcing one right from the Covenant — the right to adequate food — in the United States. By restoring Roosevelt’s vision through the ICESCR, the U.S. government will strengthen its moral stance on the world stage and help secure the integrity of Americans’ human rights.

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