chapter  20
14 Pages

Ensuring Reasonable Health: Health Rights, the Judiciary, and South African HIV/AIDS Policy

H istorically, judicial enforcement of constitu-tional rights to health care has played a fairlylimited role in enabling access to health care, a trend particularly prevalent in North America, and reflected in many other regions. This trend is due in part to judicial resistance to recognizing socioeconomic rights like health as appropriately legal, or as appropriately enforceable in light of the doctrine of separation of powers. This resistance is evident in judicial deference to social and economic policy,1 a reluctance to view socioeconomic claims as invoking "fundamental values* that courts consider themselves authorized to protect,2 and a real reluctance to recognize and enforce "positive* obligations pertaining to social welfare.3 As a result, health has often fallen largely into the political rather than legal sphere, and domestic courts have been relatively reluctant to review health policies from a human rights perspective, given the belief that doing so would exceed the appropriate democratic function of the judiciary.