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Psychology and Psychiatry

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

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Freedom And Choice In Constitutional Law, John H. Garvey Jun 1981

Freedom And Choice In Constitutional Law, John H. Garvey

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The constitutional rights of children, the mentally ill, and other legally incompetent persons have been the subject of much litigation in the past twenty years. In this Article, Professor Garvey develops a general theory to explain the different ways in which persons of diminished capacity can be said to enjoy constitutional protections. He first notes that, of the various constitutional provisions, only one kind – freedoms, which protect the right to make choices – pose serious difficulties when applied to persons of diminished capacity. He then proposes a hierarchy of ways in which we can attribute freedoms to such persons: the laissez-faire ...