This is an interesting piece. Most of the time, we define "respect" in terms of "rights." This is indeed problematic, as we have at best a loose conception of what "rights" means. You've seemed to flipped the order: "rights" is simply mutual respect.
However, I do find "respect" in this essay a little loosely defined. The essay argues that the lower limit of justice is derived from respecting the individual's capacity to choose. But I had a hard time understanding what "respecting" means here.
After reading the essay, I conjecture that a moderate interpretation of "respect" would simply mean "acknowledgement" or "awareness" of the individual's capacity to choose. Perhaps you could illuminate more on what you meant by "respect?"