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Right of Way? Defining Freedom of Movement within Democratic Societies

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Chapter Summary

Freedom of movement is perhaps our most basic human right, distinguishing liberty from servitude. This chapter approaches on freedom of movement, its defining attributes and limitations and the restrictions that democratic societies legitimately impose upon the freedom of movement. The central conundrum of mobility in the United States is the omission of the right to travel from the Constitution. Shapiro sets an important precedent, protecting the right to travel against state laws that attempted to indirectly inhibit migration-the strongest ruling to date. The author takes on two objections to a wide definition of travel. The first emanates from debates within legal scholarly communities over vagueness. The second objection derives from political theory debates over community, with proponents concerned that too wide a definition of travel restricts communities' ability to cultivate a shared identity and support their own legislation. Further, while political community may be worth preserving, parochialism is not.

Keywords:freedom of movement; political community; Shapiro; United States



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