Published on December 3, 2008 | by LawNews

“Tailoring Equal Protection to Address Today’s Democratic Deficit” by Professor Holning Lau

On December 1, Professor Holning Lau presented a paper titled “Tailoring Equal Protection to Address Today’s Democratic Deficit” at the University of Virginia School of Law. The presentation was part of the school’s faculty workshop series and was sponsored by the school’s Program in Law & Humanities.

In the paper, Professor Lau argues that “identity scripting” harms deliberative democracy and that equal protection jurisprudence should ameliorate that harm. To advance his arguments, Professor Lau draws examples from the 2008 election year. Political candidates such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin negotiated scripts on gender and racial identity during their campaigns. Other participants in political deliberation, such as commentators in the press, also negotiated gender and racial scripts during their election coverage. In his paper, Professor Lau analyzes how these gender and racial scripts undermine democratic deliberation. He also discusses how equal protection jurisprudence should address this harm to democracy.
A draft of Professor Lau’s paper is available upon request. Please email holning.lau@hofstra.edu.

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