Problems in Pompeo's Commission of Unalienable Rights

Problems in Pompeo's Commission of Unalienable Rights
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool

"Unalienable Rights," the formula stopped me the first time I read it, used as I was to the modern variant "inalienable." It turns out, however, that "unalienable" is Jefferson's precise wording in the Declaration of Independence. "Unalienable Rights" is also the title of a new commissionnamed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to provide "an informal review of human rights in American foreign policy."

It is hard to anticipate exactly what the commission will do. Mr. Pompeo told reporters the commission's work would address principles, not policy. Actually, one of the most useful things the commission could do for this administration would be to offer a principled examination of its own exceedingly weak human rights policy, which treats many rights as alienable at the whim of the president.

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