Bork on Civil Rights Laws
Steven D. Jamar
sjamar at LAW.HOWARD.EDU
Wed Feb 2 15:24:33 PST 2000
Liberty and justice for some. I get it. Better rewrite that Pledge of
Let's exclude whole groups of people from full participation in our
society because to include them infringes Bork's liberty in some
ephemeral way, or perhaps in rare instances, in a tangible way.
Let them eat cake!
I guess there could be no other principle other than raw power that
justifies state action, could there be?
Precepts of human dignity, equality, and all of the Bill of Rights and
all of the International Bill of Rights and all criminal law is thus
founded on a principle of unsurpassed ugliness.
If it were our freedom that were being spent, or if it were only our
freedom being spent, then there might be some colorable sense to these
words. But it is the freedom of the disenfranchised, the marginalized,
the weak that is being spent for Bork to pig out at his personal trough
But despite the obvious shallowness of thought in the quoted passages,
Rick and Bob do have an important point - at some point things are too
regulated. At some point we could theoretically oulaw so may bases for
distinguishing among people that the law becomes a mockery of itself.
But we should advance the principle that merit should be decided on
relevant factors - and that we should have the courage to define to some
degree what is relevant and what is not in a variety of settings.
Religion should not be relevant for being a clerk at Borders Book
Store. But it is relevant for becoming a priest.
But should we ban discrimination on the basis of weight? Appearance?
Smoking? Myers-Briggs personality type? What is relevant?
It seems the short list developed thus far is not onerous - race,
religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and in some
jurisdictions, sexual orientation - particularly if you really look at
how anemic much of the law is.
Prof. Steven D. Jamar, Director LRW Program
Howard University School of Law vox: 202-806-8017
2900 Van Ness Street NW fax: 202-806-8428
Washington, DC 20008
"The law is above the law, you know."
Dorothy Salisbury Davis, The Little Brothers (1973)
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