Vox Conversations

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing, Jamil Smith, and their colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.



Why America's obsession with rights is wrong

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.

Host: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), Senior Correspondent, Vox

Guest: Jamal Greene (@jamalgreene), Dwight Professor of Law, Columbia Law School


  • 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)
  • 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)

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This episode was made by: 

  • Producer: Erikk Geannikis
  • Editor: Amy Drozdowska
  • VP, Vox Audio: Liz Kelly Nelson

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 2021-09-02  58m