Reinterpreting Government Neutrality

Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, Vol. 29, pp. 118-139, 2004

University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law Research Paper No. 08-12

23 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2008  

Jonathan Crowe

Bond University - School of Law

Date Written: October 20, 2008

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Discrimination, neutrality, equal treatment, Lyotard

Suggested Citation

Crowe, Jonathan, Reinterpreting Government Neutrality (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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1286987

Jonathan Crowe (Contact Author)

Bond University - School of Law ( email )

Gold Coast, QLD 4229
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://bond.academia.edu/JonathanCrowe

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