Cabbies vs. lawyers
Rienzi, Mark L
RIENZI at law.edu
Tue Mar 6 17:35:43 PST 2012
I don't think it is fair to the cabbies to say that they are discriminating on the basis of religion, or that the alcohol is a "proxy" by which they are trying to do so. If they said they wouldn't drive anyone wearing a priest's collar or a nun's habit, that would be discriminating on the basis of religion, and the item would be a fair proxy for religious discrimination. But it seems entirely more likely here that they are not discriminating at all based on the religious beliefs of their passengers--presumably they are willing to drive Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists and anyone in between. Rather, their request is simply to not be forced to personally participate in an activity (the transporting of alcohol) which, for them, would be illicit. I don't think the fact that they consult their own religious beliefs in that decision can make their request into religious discrimination.
From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu [religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] on behalf of Steven Jamar [stevenjamar at gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2012 8:18 PM
To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Subject: Re: Cabbies vs. lawyers
Are not the cabbies discriminating against customers on the basis of religion? Or is the alcohol proxy enough to remove that taint?
Sent from my iPhone
On Mar 6, 2012, at 7:38 PM, "Volokh, Eugene" <VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu<mailto:VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu>> wrote:
In a sense this may be obvious, but it might be worth restating: One thing that is facing the cabbies is that for complex reasons cabbies are stripped of liberties that the rest of us take for granted. If we disapprove of alcohol – whether because we’re Muslim or Methodist, or because a close family member is an alcoholic or was injured by a drunk driver – we are free to refuse to fix the plumbing in a bar, to give legal advice to Coors, or to refuse to let people carrying beer bottles onto our business property. To be sure, our right to freedom of choice may have been limited in some ways by bans on race discrimination, sex discrimination, religious discrimination, and the like. But whether right or wrong those bans still leave us mostly free to choose whom to do business with.
The cab drivers thus want only the same kind of liberty that the rest of us generally have. Their argument isn’t a pure freedom of choice argument (which the law has rightly or wrongly denied to cabbies generally) but a freedom of choice argument coupled with a religious freedom argument; but that simply shows that this freedom of choice is even more important to them than it generally is to the rest of us.
This doesn’t mean that they should win. Maybe there’s a really good reason for denying cabbies, including religious objectors, this freedom of choice when it comes to transporting alcohol. But it does cast a different light on objections to people “choosing [clients] according to [the choosers’] religious belief,” or “demand[ing] a ‘right’ to exist in a culture that mirrors their views.” No-one makes such objections when we as lawyers pick and choose our clients; no-one faults us for choosing them according to our religious beliefs (unless those beliefs require race or sex discrimination or such); no-one says that lawyers who refuse to work for alcohol distributors demand a right to exist in a culture that mirrors our views. Likewise, I don’t think it’s fair to condemn cabbies for seeking, in this one area that is unusually important to them, the same freedom that lawyers have.
From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu<mailto:religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu> [mailto:religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Marci Hamilton
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2012 2:59 PM
To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Cc: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Subject: Re: Requirement that cabbies transport alcohol = "tiny burden"?
Why is anger at a publicly licensed cab picking and choosing passengers according to religious belief anything like anti-Muslim animus? Cabbies can't reject passengers on race. Why should they be able to reject those with religious beliefs different from their own? If they don't want to be in the company of nonbelievers, they should find another line of work.
Also-- a number of imams announced the cabbies were misreading the Koran. There was no requirement they not transport others' cases of wine. No one was asking them to drink the wine
We have crossed the line from legitimate claims to accommodation into the territory where religious believers demand a "right" to exist in a culture that mirrors their views. That is called Balkanization
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