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Lawrence Lessig on Civil Rights

 

 


Black Lives Matter: institutional racism risks black lives

Regarding "Black Lives Matter": People are focusing on the "Black" part, I think we should focus on the "Lives" part. When you have a system of fundamental inequality, what that does is disempower people, and in America to be disempowered as a black person is not just that you aren't getting roads built, or that ambulances take longer--it is that your life is not respected, so you are actually risking your life to be a black person driving in certain areas, because we have instituionalized this idea that inequality of so deeply in America.

Ferguson is an amazing example of how they have structured their tax system to basically tax through fines. Taxation through citation. Police officers aren't police officers, they are tax collectors. You park your car, get a traffic violation, you don't pay that fine on time, you get an arrest warrant. This taxes the least empowered political group, because what are they going to do? Elect a candidate to overturn it?

Source: RealClearPolitics.com on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 23, 2015

LGBT rights secured constitutionally; now work on statute

Lessig, whose immediate goal is to boost his poll numbers to qualify to make his case on stage at the debates, made his pitch to the LGBT community in an interview with the Washington Blade. A campaign that "celebrates and rallies around the importance of equality," Lessig predicted, would have a positive effect for those who are pushing in a particular area of equality rights, such as LGBT people.

"Obviously, the community has earned an extraordinary victory over the course of the last 20 years," Lessig said. "It's the most successful equality movement in the history of equality movements in just the sense of the speed with which attitudes were reversed and the law brought about to recognize the importance of granting equal status as a constitutional matter. And now, the fight is going to be as a statutory matter, to secure the same kind of equality protections that other groups such as women and people discriminated on the basis of race have."

Source: Washington Blade 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 7, 2015

Aggressively support transgendered social recognition

Asked what should be done about the rash of anti-trans violence in this country that has left 20 transgender people dead this year alone, Lessig said, "I think it makes sense to have the hate crime law focus on transgender as a category of hate that could trigger higher penalties."

Lessig said the issue of transgender rights hits close to home because he has a transgender person in his family: His wife's cousin is married to a transgender man. "This is something that's very present in our life as they raise their own family and have to live in a world which doesn't quite understand them," Lessig said. "I think we should be as aggressively supportive of achieving social recognition of the equality of all humans regardless of these characteristics." Lessig said his wife's female cousin was in a same-sex relationship with a woman before he knew her family, but was around for this family decision to transition. "He was not yet a 'he' when it began," Lessig said.

Source: Washington Blade 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 7, 2015

I am a libertarian on free speech issues

Lessig said in 2006, "I am a libertarian in the context of free speech issues. I believe there is something fundamentally wrong with regulation that can't be justified. So I am motivated by a desire to defend that freedom, and by a deep skepticism about regulations that interfere with that freedom."
Source: Religion News 2015 article on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 8, 2015

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Page last updated: Aug 18, 2016