In God's Image: The Religious Imperative of Equality under Law

George P. Fletcher, Columbia Law School


This Essay argues that the principle of equality under law is best grounded in a holistic view of human dignity. Rejecting modem attempts to justify equality by reducing humanity to a particular factual characteristic, it articulates a religious imperative to treat people equally by drawing on biblical as well as modern philosophical sources. The principle "all men are created equal," as celebrated in the Declaration of Independence and Gettysburg Address, draws on this holistic understanding of humanity. This admittedly romantic approach to equality generates a critique of contemporay Supreme Court doctrine, including the prevailing approaches to strict scrutiny, affirmative action, and wealth discrimination.