Equality before the law

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Equality before the law, also known as equality under the law, equality in the eyes of the law, legal equality, or legal egalitarianism, is the principle that each independent being must be treated equally by the law (principle of isonomy) and that all are subject to the same laws of justice (due process). [1] Therefore, the law must guarantee that no individual nor group of individuals be privileged or discriminated against by the government. Equality before the law is one of the basic principles of liberalism. [2] [3] This principle arises from various important and complex questions concerning equality, fairness and justice. Thus, the principle of equality before the law is incompatible and ceases to exist with legal systems such as slavery, servitude, colonialism, or monarchy.[ citation needed ]

Due process Requirement that courts respect all legal rights owed to people

Due process is the legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person. Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects the individual person from it. When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, this constitutes a due process violation, which offends the rule of law.

Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support limited government, individual rights, capitalism, democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion.

Slavery System under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work

Slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration. Many scholars now use the term chattel slavery to refer to this specific sense of legalised, de jure slavery. In a broader sense, however, the word slavery may also refer to any situation in which an individual is de facto forced to work against their own will. Scholars also use the more generic terms such as unfree labour or forced labour to refer to such situations. However, and especially under slavery in broader senses of the word, slaves may have some rights and protections according to laws or customs.

Contents

Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states: "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law". [1] Thus, everyone must be treated equally under the law regardless of race, gender, national origin, color, ethnicity, religion, disability, or other characteristics, without privilege, discrimination or bias. The general guarantee of equality is provided by most of the world's national constitutions, [4] but specific implementations of this guarantee vary. For example, while many constitutions guarantee equality regardless of race, [5] only a few mention the right to equality regardless of nationality. [6]

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Declaration adopted in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a historic document that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its 183rd session on 10 December 1948 as Resolution 217 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France. Of the then 58 members of the United Nations, 48 voted in favor, none against, eight abstained, and two did not vote.

Gender Characteristics distinguishing between masculinity and femininity

Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex, sex-based social structures, or gender identity. Many if not most societies use a gender binary, having two genders, men and women; those who exist outside these groups fall under the umbrella term non-binary or genderqueer. Some societies have specific genders besides "man" and "woman", such as the hijras of South Asia; these are often referred to as third genders.

Human skin color skin color an individual has as a result of genetics

Human skin color ranges in variety from the darkest brown to the lightest hues. An individual's skin pigmentation is the result of genetics, being the product of both of the individual's biological parents' genetic makeup, and exposure to sun. In evolution, skin pigmentation in human beings evolved by a process of natural selection primarily to regulate the amount of ultraviolet radiation penetrating the skin, controlling its biochemical effects.

History

Statue of Equality in Paris as an allegory of equality Place de la Republique - Egalite.jpg
Statue of Equality in Paris as an allegory of equality

A legalist Guan Zhong (720–645 BC) declared that all persons under the jurisdiction of the ruler are equal before the law.

Legalism (Chinese philosophy) A tradition of Chinese thought and practice

Fajia or Legalism is one of Sima Tan's six classical schools of thought in Chinese philosophy. Roughly meaning "house of Fa", the "school" (term) represents some several branches of realistic statesmen or "men of methods" foundational for the traditional Chinese bureaucratic empire. Compared with Machiavellianism, they have often been considered in the Western world as akin to the Realpolitikal thought of ancient China, emphasizing a realistic consolidation of the wealth and power of autocrat and state, with the goal of achieving increased order, security and stability. Having close ties with the other schools, some would be a major influence on Taoism and Confucianism, and the current remains highly influential in administration, policy and legal practice in China today.

Guan Zhong Chinese chancellor and reformer

Guan Zhong was a Chinese philosopher and politician. He served as chancellor and was a reformer of the State of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. His given name was Yiwu. Zhong was his courtesy name. He is mainly remembered for his reforms as chancellor under Duke Huan of Qi, as well as his friendship with his colleague Bao Shuya, though his reputation remained controversial among the Confucians, as detailed in the Philosophy and appraisal section.

The 431 BCE funeral oration of Pericles, recorded in Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War , includes a passage praising the equality among the free male citizens of the Athenian democracy:

Pericles Funeral Oration speech

Pericles' Funeral Oration is a famous speech from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. The speech was delivered by Pericles, an eminent Athenian politician, at the end of the first year of the Peloponnesian War as a part of the annual public funeral for the war dead.

Thucydides Greek historian and Athenian general

Thucydides was an Athenian historian and general. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the fifth-century BC war between Sparta and Athens until the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of "scientific history" by those who accept his claims to have applied strict standards of impartiality and evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect, without reference to intervention by the deities, as outlined in his introduction to his work.

<i>History of the Peloponnesian War</i> historical account of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

The History of the Peloponnesian War is a historical account of the Peloponnesian War, which was fought between the Peloponnesian League and the Delian League. It was written by Thucydides, an Athenian historian who also happened to serve as an Athenian general during the war. His account of the conflict is widely considered to be a classic and regarded as one of the earliest scholarly works of history. The History is divided into eight books.

If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if to social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way. [7]

In ancient times, violent repression of even basic equality was commonplace. Despite the recent overthrow of the Roman monarchy and the establishment of the Roman Republic and sacrosanct Tribunes of the Plebs, Cincinnatus's son Caeso led a gang that chased plebs from the forum to prevent the creation of equitable written laws. In Rome's case, the organization of the plebs and the patricians' dependence upon them as both laborers and soldiers meant the Conflict of the Orders was resolved by the establishment of the Twelve Tables and greater equality. Nominally, all citizens except the emperor were equal under Roman law in the imperial period. However, this principle was not implemented in most of the world and even in Europe the rise of aristocracies and nobility created unequal legal systems that lasted into the modern era.

Overthrow of the Roman monarchy

The overthrow of the Roman monarchy, a political revolution in ancient Rome, took place around 509 BC and resulted in the expulsion of the last king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, and the establishment of the Roman Republic.

Roman Kingdom Romes political structure 753-509 BCE

The Roman Kingdom, also referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history, when the city and its territory were ruled by kings.

Roman Republic Period of ancient Roman civilization (509–27 BC)

The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, and ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world.

Liberalism

Liberalism calls for equality before the law for all persons. [2] Classical liberalism as embraced by libertarians and modern American conservatives opposes pursuing group rights at the expense of individual rights. [3] However, Lockean liberalism (the foundation for classical liberalism) is interpreted by others as including social rights and responsibilities. [8]

Feminism

Equality before the law is a tenet of some branches of feminism. In the 19th century, gender equality before the law was a radical goal, but some later feminist views hold that formal legal equality is not enough to create actual and social equality between women and men. An ideal of formal equality may penalize women for failing to conform to a male norm while an ideal of different treatment may reinforce sexist stereotypes. [9]

In 1988, prior to serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote: "Generalizations about the way women or men are – my life experience bears out – cannot guide me reliably in making decisions about particular individuals. At least in the law, I have found no natural superiority or deficiency in either sex. In class or in grading papers from 1963 to 1980, and now in reading briefs and listening to arguments in court for over seventeen years, I have detected no reliable indicator or distinctly male or surely female thinking – even penmanship". [10] In an American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project in the 1970s, Ginsburg challenged in Frontiero v. Richardson the laws that gave health service benefits to wives of servicemen, but not to husbands of servicewomen. [11] There are over 150 national constitutions that currently mention equality regardless of gender. [12]

Article 200 of the Criminal Code of Japan, the penalty regarding parricide, was declared unconstitutional for violating the equality under the law by the Supreme Court of Japan in 1973. This was a result of the trial of the Tochigi patricide case. [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

Egalitarianism, or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that prioritizes equality for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all human persons are equal in fundamental worth or moral status. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term has two distinct definitions in modern English, namely either as a political doctrine that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social and civil rights, or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people, economic egalitarianism, or the decentralization of power. Some sources define egalitarianism as the point of view that equality reflects the natural state of humanity.

"Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical" is an essay by John Rawls, published in 1985. In it he describes his conception of justice. It comprises two main principles of liberty and equality; the second is subdivided into Fair Equality of Opportunity and the Difference Principle.

Liberal feminism is an individualistic form of feminist theory, which focuses on women's ability to maintain their equality through their own actions and choices. Madiha Mazhar said Its emphasis is on making the legal and political rights of women equal to men. Liberal feminists argue that society holds the false belief that women are, by nature, less intellectually and physically capable than men; thus it tends to discriminate against women in the academy, the forum, and the marketplace. Liberal feminists believe that "female subordination is rooted in a set of customary and legal constraints that blocks women's entrance to and success in the so-called public world". They strive for sexual equality via political and legal reform.

Equal Protection Clause Guarantee of law protecting all persons equally in the United States

The Equal Protection Clause is a clause within the text of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The clause, which took effect in 1868, provides "nor shall any State [...] deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws".

Equal pay for equal work is the concept of labour rights that individuals in the same workplace be given equal pay. It is most commonly used in the context of sexual discrimination, in relation to the gender pay gap. Equal pay relates to the full range of payments and benefits, including basic pay, non-salary payments, bonuses and allowances. Some countries have moved faster than others in addressing the problem. Since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, it has been illegal in the United States to pay men and women working in the same place different salaries for similar work, but it still happens on a day to day basis.

Gender equality view that men and women should receive equal treatment, and should not be discriminated against based on gender

Gender equality, also known as sexual equality or equality of the sexes, is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing different behaviors, aspirations and needs equally, regardless of gender.

Political egalitarianism is where members of a society are of equal standing in terms of political power or influence. A founding principle of various forms of democracy, political egalitarianism was an idea which was supported by Thomas Jefferson and it is a concept similar to moral reciprocity and legal equality. The idea suggests all citizens of a certain country must be treated equally solely depending on their citizenship status, not on their race, gender, religion and how clever or how rich they are. Equal citizenship constitute the core of political egalitarianism. This is expressed in such principles as one-person/one-vote, equality before the law and equal rights of free speech.

Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190 (1976), was the first case in which a majority of the United States Supreme Court determined that statutory or administrative sex classifications were subject to intermediate scrutiny under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms contains guaranteed equality rights. As part of the Constitution, the section prohibits certain forms of discrimination perpetrated by the governments of Canada with the exception of ameliorative programs and rights or privileges guaranteed by or under the Constitution of Canada in respect of denominational, separate or dissentient schools.

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) is a legal aid organization based in New York City at the Miss Major-Jay Toole Building for Social Justice that serves low-income or people of color who are transgender, intersex and/or gender non-conforming. The organization was formed in August 2002 by attorney and transgender civil rights activist, Dean Spade. The project was named for Sylvia Rivera, a transgender activist and veteran of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, who died the same year that SRLP was formed.

Reva B. Siegel is the Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Siegel's writing draws on legal history to explore questions of law and inequality, and to analyze how courts interact with representative government and popular movements in interpreting the Constitution. She is currently writing on the role of social movement conflict in guiding constitutional change, addressing this question in recent articles on reproductive rights, originalism and the Second Amendment, the "de facto ERA," and the enforcement of Brown. Her publications include Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking ; The Constitution in 2020 ; and Directions in Sexual Harassment Law. Professor Siegel received her B.A., M.Phil, and J.D. from Yale University, clerked for Judge Spottswood Robinson on the D.C. Circuit, and began teaching at the University of California at Berkeley. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is active in the American Society for Legal History, the Association of American Law Schools, the American Constitution Society, in the national organization and as faculty advisor of Yale's chapter. She was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018.

The Race Equality Directive2000/43/EC is an Act of the European Union, concerning European labour law. It implements the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin. Since the Treaty of Amsterdam came into force in 1999, new EC laws, or Directives, have been enacted in the area of anti-discrimination, and this Directive complements other Directives on gender and age, disability, religion and sexual orientation.

Equal rights may refer to:

The Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is a human rights proclamation issued by the United Nations General Assembly, outlining that body's views on women's rights. It was adopted by the General Assembly on 7 November 1967. The Declaration was an important precursor to the legally binding 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

European labour law regulates basic transnational standards of employment and partnership at work in the European Union and countries adhering to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Social equality is a state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in certain respects, including civil rights, freedom of speech, property rights and equal access to certain social goods and services. However, it also includes concepts of health equality, economic equality and other social securities. It also includes equal opportunities and obligations, and so involves the whole of society. Social equality requires the absence of legally enforced social class or caste boundaries and the absence of discrimination motivated by an inalienable part of a person's identity. For example, sex, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, origin, caste or class, income or property, language, religion, convictions, opinions, health or disability must absolutely not result in unequal treatment under the law and should not reduce opportunities unjustifiably.

The Women’s Equal Rights Law, 5711-1951 was passed by the First Knesset of the State of Israel in order to explicitly guarantee the equal status of men and women in the newly established state. The law was enacted three years after Executive Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Head of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, David Ben-Gurion, issued Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which promised “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, irrespective of religion, race, or sex.” Since its inception, the Women’s Equal Rights Law, 5711-1951 has been met with both praise and criticism.

P v S and Cornwall County Council was a landmark case of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which extended the scope of sex equality to discrimination against transsexuals.

Gender equality in Azerbaijan

Gender equality in Azerbaijan is guaranteed by the country's constitution and legislation, and an initiative is in place to prevent domestic violence. Azerbaijan ratified a United Nations convention in 1995, and a Gender Information Center opened in 2002. A committee on women's issues was established in 1998.

Califano v. Goldfarb, 430 U.S. 199 (1977), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court, which held that the different treatment of men and women mandated by 42 U.S.C. § 402(f)(1)(D) constituted invidious discrimination against female wage earners by affording them less protection for their surviving spouses than is provided to male employees, and therefore violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The case was brought by a widower who was denied survivor benefits on the grounds that he had not been receiving at least one-half support from his wife when she died. Justice Brennan delivered the opinion of the court, ruling unconstitutional the provision of the Social Security Act which set forth a gender-based distinction between widows and widowers, whereby Social Security Act survivors benefits were payable to a widower only if he was receiving at least half of his support from his late wife, while such benefits based on the earnings of a deceased husband were payable to his widow regardless of dependency. The Court found that this distinction deprived female wage earners of the same protection that a similarly situated male worker would have received, violating due process and equal protection.

References

  1. 1 2 "Universal Declaration of Human Rights". www.un.org. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  2. 1 2 Chandran Kukathas, "Ethical Pluralism from a Classical Liberal Perspective," in The Many Pacqiuo and the One: Religious and Secular Perspectives on Ethical Pluralism in the Modern World, ed. Richard Madsen and Tracy B. Strong, Ethikon Series in Comparative Ethics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), p. 61 ( ISBN   0-691-09993-6).
  3. 1 2 Mark Evans, ed., Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Liberalism: Evidence and Experience (London: Routledge, 2001), p. 55 ( ISBN   1-57958-339-3).
  4. "Read about "Equality" on Constitute". constituteproject.org. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  5. "Read about "Equality regardless of race" on Constitute". constituteproject.org. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  6. "Read about "Equality regardless of nationality" on Constitute". constituteproject.org. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  7. Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War , Written 431 BCE, Translated by Richard Crawley (1874), retrieved via Project Gutenberg.
  8. Locke, John. Two Treatises of Government. Peter Laslett, ed., Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1960 (see "Introduction," pp. 114–126).
  9. Jaggar, Alison. (1994) "Part One: Equality. Introduction." In Living with Contradictions: Controversies in Feminist Social Ethics . Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
  10. Jeff Rosen, "The Book of Ruth," New Republic, August 2, 1993, p. 19.
  11. O'Dea, Suzanne. From Suffrage to the Senate: An Encyclopedia of American Women in Politics , ABC-CLIO, 1999
  12. "Read about "Equality regardless of gender" on Constitute". constituteproject.org. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  13. Dean, Meryll (2002). Japanese legal system. Routledge via Google Books. p. 535

Further reading