CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chiao on Equality, Assurance and Criminalization

Vincent Chiao (University of Toronto - Faculty of Law) has posted Equality, Assurance and Criminalization (Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2014) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The criminal law has at least two goals: to provide a degree of protection to a variety of individual and collective interests, and to communicate to those to whom it applies that those interests are protected. The question I consider is whether the criminal law should be used to advance the second goal independently of its use in advancing the first. Drawing on what I refer to as non-comparative egalitarianism, I argue that it should not. After developing a general argument for this claim, I turn to considering its implications for the criminalization of hate speech, focusing specifically on a line of argument found both in the Supreme Court of Canada’s s.2 jurisprudence as well as Jeremy Waldron’s recent book, The Harm in Hate Speech. I also briefly consider a structurally similar, but broader argument – recently defended by Alon Harel – which suggests that there is a constitutional duty to criminalize conduct that would, if engaged in, interfere with a person’s dominion over how her life goes, regardless of whether criminalization would or would not drive down the actual incidence of the targeted conduct. I claim that egalitarians should not recognize any such duty.

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