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The articles that follow, initially presented in 1983 as the thirty-second series of Thomas M. Cooley Lectures, address a subject that has deep roots in the United States' history. Assurances that there would be constitutional protection of what are now called human rights-in the United States, they have more frequently been referred to as civil liberties and civil rights or individual rights and liberties-was a practical condition for the adoption of the Constitution. The belief that such guarantees are of vital importance in maintaining a society that is both free and just has over time become even more deeply embedded in our national consciousness. Despite the intense controversy that from time to time erupts over one or another Supreme Court decision-or perhaps because of it-it has become an article of faith among Americans that a constitutional specification of rights, enforced and elaborated by courts, is necessary to ensure liberty and as a safeguard against injustice.