The Empty Idea of Equality

Harvard Law Review 95 (3):537-596 (1982)

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Abstract
The principle of equality - that likes should be treated alike - has been a fixture of Western thought for thousands of years. In this Article, Professor Westen argues that the endurance of the principle is due to the fact that it is empty of content. For the principle to have meaning, it must incorporate some external values that determine which persons and treatments are alike, but once these external values are found, the principle of equality is superfluous. Worse, equality tends to cause confusion and logical errors. Consequently, Professor Westen concludes, the rhetoric of equality should be abandoned.
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