Human Exceptionalism

Jeffrey Rosen Predicts That Science, Technology, and Bioethics Will be Future Supreme Court Fodder

This extended piece from the New York Times Magazine is well worth the time it takes to read it. Jeffrey Rosen is not only fair (a real change of pace for the NYT), but he is right about some of the issues likely to be the source of bitter litigation in the future, ranging from the right to genetically engineer progeny, do reproductive cloning, and what life forms are patentable. But he misses a few micro and macro issues. The biggest issue he misses is the coming battle over whether there is a constitutional right to conduct scientific research, as some scientists and bioethicists claim. If so, the ability of society to regulate research will be all but destroyed. A second area of litigation, that he hints at, is the status of animals as alleged persons and, indeed, whether animals can be litigants. There are public interest law firms being created to push this very agenda, most notably by Rutgers School of Law animal liberationist professor, Gary Francione.