March 8, 2013
“Religious Equality in a Partial World”
Professor Larry Sager (University of Texas)
12:30pm – 2:00pm, Room 2027, Osgoode Hall Law School
RSVP Required: www.osgoode.yorku.ca/research/rsvp, Event Code: LRST6
In our joint work, Chris Eisgruber and I have argued that a robust equality principle underwrites religious liberty in the United States. The touchstone is equal membership, which, in the name of justice, requires that a political community accord equal status to all persons, without regard to their race, ethnicity, religion or other fundamental aspects of their identities. In a liberal pluralist state like the United States, equal membership promotes a ruthless demand for equal treatment along the fault line of religious belief. But when we raise our gaze to the rest of the world, partiality is everywhere. Is it possible that in other regime types some forms of partiality can be tolerated? To grasp the nettle, consider Israel, which is committed by its founding documents to be both a “Jewish state” and a state that “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex…”. Could a state satisfy both of these aspirations?
Larry Sager is the Alice Jane Drysdale Sheffield Regents Chair in the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin. One of the United States’ pre-eminent constitutional theorists, Professor Sager is author of Justice in Plainclothes: a Theory of American Constitutional Practice (Yale 2004), and Religious Freedom and the Constitution (co-authored with Christopher Eisgruber) (Harvard 2007).