Reinterpreting Government Neutrality
The University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law
October 20, 2008
Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, Vol. 29, pp. 118-139, 2004
University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law Research Paper No. 08-12
The principle of government neutrality, as commonly understood, enshrines the idea that government bodies ought to treat all citizens equally. I argue that the traditional interpretation of this principle in liberal constitutionalism has involved a prohibition against legal actors distinguishing between subjects on the basis of their personal characteristics. This approach is unsatisfactory, as it constrains the law's ability to respond to evolved social practices of discrimination. To illustrate this point, I draw on the writings of Jean-Francois Lyotard and recent judicial decisions on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: Discrimination, neutrality, equal treatment, Lyotard
Date posted: October 20, 2008
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