Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: October 22, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412956260 | Print ISBN: 9781412916523 | Online ISBN: 9781412956260| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Tara J. Radin & Steven R. Zahn
Legal rights are rights attributed by law. A “right” is an entitlement, which can operate as either an opportunity to do something or a restriction to prevent individuals from interfering with the rights of others. There is a set of rights, considered “natural rights,” which are considered universal—that is, they exist in nature—and are not contingent on particular beliefs. In contrast, while there is overlap sometimes between natural and legal rights, this is not always the case; legal rights exist by virtue of the laws that establish them and are not inherently connected to moral rights. In the United States, the Constitution establishes fundamental rights in its first 10 amendments, called the Bill of Rights. It is here that rights such as free speech and due process are articulated. Additional federal, state, and local legislation sets up other legal rights as defined by each jurisdiction. While legal rights pertain to ...