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Pic of The Gray Area with Sean Illing

Best of: Why America's obsession with rights is wrong

October 6, 2022

The Gray Area with Sean Illing


In this episode originally recorded in July 2021, Vox's Zack Beauchamp talks with Columbia law professor Jamal Greene about his book How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession With Rights Is Tearing America Apart. They discuss how the US obsession with rights and their protections gives too much power to judges and the courts, makes it difficult for ordinary citizens to find reasonable solutions to legitimate problems, and has made this country's legal system not only nonsensical but dangerous. Vox Conversations will return on Thursday, Oct. 13th — but under a new name, and with a new look. Stay tuned for The Gray Area with Sean Illing: a philosophical take on culture, politics, and everything in between. Host: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), Senior Correspondent, Vox Guest: Jamal Greene (@jamalgreene), Dwight Professor of Law, Columbia Law School References:  How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession With Rights Is Tearing America Apart by Jamal Greene (HMH Books; 2021) "From Guns to Gay Marriage, How Did Rights Take Over Politics?" by Kelefa Sanneh (New Yorker; May 24, 2021) Lochner v. New York, 198 US 45 (1905) Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 584 US __ (2018) District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 US 570 (2008) "Texas's radical anti-abortion law, explained" by Ian Millhiser (Vox; Sept. 2, 2021) We want to hear from you! Take Vox’s audience survey today: Enjoyed this episode? Rate Vox Conversations ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of Vox Conversations by subscribing in your favorite podcast app. Support Vox Conversations by making a financial contribution to Vox! This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Editor: Amy Drozdowska Engineer: Patrick Boyd Deputy Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit