Transnational Culture Wars

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The well-known ‘culture wars’ clash in the United States between civil society actors has now gone transnational. Political science scholarship has long detailed how liberal human rights non-governmental organizations NGOs engage in extensive transnational activity in support of their ideals. More recently, US conservative groups (including faith-based NGOs) have begun to emulate these strategies, promoting their convictions by engaging in transnational advocacy. NGOs thus face off against each other politically across the globe. Less well known is the extent to which these culture wars are conducted in courts, using conflicting interpretations of human rights law. Many of the same protagonists, particularly NGOs that find themselves against each other in US courts, now find new litigation opportunities abroad in which to fight their battles. These developments, and their implications, are the focus of this article. In particular, the extent to which US faith-based NGOs have leveraged the experience gained transnationally to use international and foreign jurisprudence in interventions before the US Supreme Court is assessed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-462
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Constitutional Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Transnational law, human rights, NGOs, foreign precedents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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