Your assignment will focus on the question of whether the law, or legal rules, should take into account “equity” (or “distributional”) problems that might exist in society. For example, most of us take for granted that at least some aspects of public policy will be aimed at helping the “disadvantaged” or “underrepresented.” What these words mean is more complicated than we may expect. The question is should the state structure legal rules such that certain groups are advantaged or assisted at the expense of others and why (or why not).
Think about it:
- Should lots in life be taken into account in law?
- How important is equity in outcomes? Should the law protect the disadvantaged?
- What is the difference between equal treatment and equal outcomes?
- Forms of discrimination? Should laws impose morality?
The assignment will be written like an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court. An amicus curiae is filed by someone who is not party to the case being decided. Think of it as an advocacy group or third party offering legal arguments for the Court to consider. Unlike a typical amicus curiae brief, there is no specific case in mind. Imagine that some state has passed a law that favors some sub-group over another in either the civil or criminal legal sphere. Your paper must argue for a conclusion on one side of the debate or the other. The will be no fence sitting. Have some conviction. There is no wrong side. So choose the side that you believe has the strongest arguments. You need to argue to the Court, what they should do with the law (should it be allowed to stand or should it be struck down?).