Practical Equality: Forging Justice in a Divided Nation

Practical Equality: Forging Justice in a Divided Nation

by Robert Tsai


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A path-breaking account of how Americans have used innovative legal measures to overcome injustice—and an indispensable guide to pursuing equality in our time.

Equality is easy to grasp in theory but often hard to achieve in reality. In this accessible and wide-ranging work, American University law professor Robert L. Tsai offers a stirring account of how legal ideas that aren’t necessarily about equality at all—ensuring fair play, behaving reasonably, avoiding cruelty, and protecting free speech—have often been used to overcome resistance to justice and remain vital today.

Practical Equality is an original and compelling book on the intersection of law and society. Tsai, a leading expert on constitutional law who has written widely in the popular press, traces challenges to equality throughout American history: from the oppression of emancipated slaves after the Civil War to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II to President Trump’s ban on Muslim travelers. He applies lessons from these and other past struggles to such pressing contemporary issues as the rights of sexual minorities and the homeless, racism in the criminal justice system, police brutality, voting restrictions, oppressive measures against migrants, and more.

Deeply researched and well argued, Practical Equality offers a sense of optimism and a guide to pursuing equality for activists, lawyers, public officials, and concerned citizens.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393652024
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/19/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 415,484
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Robert L. Tsai is a professor at American University. He is the author of America’s Forgotten Constitutions and his essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Boston Review, and Slate. He lives in Washington, DC, with his family.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Practical Equality 13

Chapter 2 Fair Play 51

Chapter 3 The Rule Of Reason 93

Chapter 4 No Cruelty 137

Chapter 5 Free Speech 181

Conclusion 229

Acknowledgments 233

Notes 235

Index 263

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