tv Robert Tsai Practical Equality CSPAN March 30, 2019 10:50am-11:51am EDT
page. >> here are the next three programs on booktv robert tsai examines the legal arguments for equality. she offers her thoughts on how to read economic extremism. check your cable like for more schedule information. now here is robert tsai. >> hi good evening everybody. i am bradley graham i am the co-owner of politics and prose along with my wife in behalf of the entire staff you're welcome. thank you very much for coming. with the seceding is robert tsai a law professor at the american
university and authority are constitutional democratic theory in u.s. political culture and a few other things. he has written a very thoughtful book on how to deal with so many of today's most difficult legal issues by essentially pursuing a second best solution. the title of his book is practical equality which in itself is an intriguing words. the idealistic equality of the more pragmatic were grounded practical equality. the tempering of the idea with the real reflex the argument which is basically this, the other time when serious systemic and inequality persist in american society and continue to face legal challenges, whether involving voting restrictions,
gender discrimination, racial profiling and other wrongs. we should recognize going forward absolute equality may not be always the best strategy while it would be great, if all minorities and women, immigrants and others enjoyed the equality promised, that the u.s. constitution courts do tend to shy away from sweeping rulings for a number of reasons. it may be their aversion to getting in bed political fights, or appearing to overreach or inciting popular opposition to the judicial system. whatever the reason, robert contends in the face of such judicial caution in reluctance, a wiser more promising approach for those seeking greater justice would be the challenges on the focus of legal. substituting the idea of
equality with the next best thing. some of these next facts concepts include fairplay, rule of reason, cruelty and free speech. he devotes a chapter into each of these and illustrates his argument with examples that touch of the range of past and present controversies which you will be hearing in a minute. i will add that while he makes a persuasive case he also writes with quite evident passion about the moral imperatives to combat inequality and not allow his disparities to fester. after law school into courtships robert spent as a civil rights lawyer in georgia. at the time in the south working with students, protesters, prisoners, homeless and lasting impression on him.
he went on to teach at the university of oregon law school before joining the faculty on an american university just over a decade ago. we are published this evening to have adam liptak to be in conversation with robert. all of you who read the new york times will recognize adam as a papers supreme court correspondent a post he is held for 11 years. himself to practice law for 14 years for joining the times in 2002. ladies and gentlemen please turn me and welcome both robert and adam. [applause] >> hello. we are here to celebrate and explore what you've heard a very interesting provocative book. i want to ask robert to help set
the groundwork a little bit and unpacked the concept that we heard about. maybe the easiest way is to assess question, there's equality and there's practical equality, what's the difference? >> that's a big question. first of all, i want to thank everybody for coming to this event it is been a dream of mine to write a book that is worthy of being kept on the shelf here. politics and prose is an important independent bookstore in a national treasure. i wanted to call you for being here and the books are for having me and i want to think adam for being in my conversation partner. what is the difference between equality and practical equality. i think i would say is the equality is primarily a moral idea, it's a moral adjective that we all believe in and the
idea of course of equality is that people as a moral matter are to be treated the same as much as possible. we've got lots of places in the law and the political tax where we say exactly that. and very strong vibrant language and most of the time when we think about doing the work of equality we think of it in those terms. of trying to pursue the absolute moral truths the best we can. but it turns out that we have a hard time doing the work of equality and practice. that we run into a number of roadblocks and we sometimes worry about the consequences of embracing someone's claim of equality whether someone's claim to enjoy -- if you're in a same-sex couple or whether allowing that couple to enjoy
the fruits of marriage and some of that might change your notion of marriage and you might worry about a political backlash and something that some institutions and elected officials worry about. so for a lot of these practical reasons we often in reality resist embracing the moral claim. the idea of practical equality is that we think hard about all of the practical reasons why everyday people seem to resist the idea of equality and if this is right and what we ought to do is not think hard about all the other kinds of arguments and strategies that might also be affected in some of the actual tangible forms of inequity that people are suffering every day. whether migrants or people of color there are lots of other ways that we can also reduce these populations face. >> let me test one part of that.
is that your perspective -- were mostly talking about courts here. but people have a role to play in their thinking too. is it your perspective that it is always a second-best solution not to go straight to the equality argument and that a court confronted by a question of inequality should the better route be? >> i do think that much of the time for people had come forward with a possible and strong equality argument that we need to take that hearsay. in one of the things i do in the book is to bring readers to the weekend when president trump
muslim travel ban was implemented. that week and was incredibly chaotic and i want the readers to remember that weekend for a couple of reasons. one, i want people to remember all the hardships that people actually face. and that they faced him proportionally. it's not all travelers but those travelers that were expected to be coming from muslim countries who were indeed mostly muslim. the other reason why i want to bring readers to that weekend is that there was an upside to this. if you remember the weekend all kinds of people came out of the woodwork. we had lawyers, students, elected officials who wanted to get in on the act and the right airports to try to help figure out what was going on and to do some of the work and i call the work of practical equality. so to be the upside of the weekend is that this was a shining example of how hard it is, but how important it is for everybody to get involved both activists and lawyers to do this work. >> what do you think of the arguments as you know, right
after the education the supreme court considered whether to hear a case on bands of interracial marriage. the fight for same-sex equality went up to the court system and the court initially dumped her. even justice thanks the court might move too quickly on abortion rights in rule. is there ever a point in which courts should take the public's temperature in deciding whether the public is ready for inequality decision. >> that's a good description of how i actually think they're operating. all of these claims, but in fact courts are really populated by human beings like the rest of us. we worry about the consequences embracing these kinds of arguments and one of the things that courts in particular in the supreme court especially is worried about is the political backlash that can come from being too far out ahead of where
the people are culturally or politically. as he pointed out, this is exactly what they fear when it came to integration of the schools and also what they feared and turned out rightly so when it came to same-sex marriage. does anyone remember the first court to say that as a matter of equality same-sex couples are to be entitled to the fruits of marriage? which decor was that does anyone remember? [laughter] i heard hawaii, that was the right answer. the wiseman cream court endorsed supreme equality in that case and immediately enacted a constitutional mms white at the decision. for a period of time the danger in state after state. i had to face the likelihood and
gains of gay rights would be wiped out by voters. so courts in the states as well of the supreme court of the united states watch what was going on was worried about some of the practical consequences of inequality i talked about. i do think the courts do pay attention to these kinds of things and they can't help but do that but sometimes we understand that they worry about these things that a contingent conversation. once in a while, if what we think is going on is that a court or an elected official and someone in the position of authority is overly concerned of the consequence of equality, changing the conversation to a different argument might do good. some of the arguments i talk about in the book are fairness arguments, need to avoid cruelty, i talk about reason and
we have a real problem with some elected officials and some judges who don't think fax matter. we have this over and over. this chapter is all about that. there is a deep connection between empirical truths and avoiding bias and discrimination. if you don't care about the truth in which you be tolerating among other things then were discrimination. >> i one of your down on some of the strategies and some of the second-best solution. i want to ask you a larger question, the premise of the book is that inequality ought always be our overriding concern. are there ever situations in which equality intention and other values we may have to take account of those customer. >> i think there are.
the book is about equality and i think that is because most of us except equality is the central organizing value for all political communities but especially for our own. that is why equality is hovering in the picture. but you're right that we have to make hard choices. that's the other aspect of practical equality. sometimes the value of equality will be the intention and sometimes i'll be in tension with speech values. and sometimes they'll be in tension with religious freedom values. and so the book isn't going to tell us where to draw the line, but it will force us i hope to confront how tricky these questions are. >> the other sense i got reading the book, there are two ways to think about the backup strategies. one is, the second-best soluti solution, they made a little cynical that you want to get from point a to point b you cannot get there indirectly and
you will be clever. what is your reaction to that? >> i think that as a lawyer and someone who cares about equality you're gonna want to get there in whatever way you can. and i think that's for the populations that are most vulnerable. whether migrants, or people who have been adjudicated of a felony. when we talk about is development of franchising. in the idea that we accept the people who commit crimes are different from the rest of us. and therefore you can do all kinds of terrible things to them. including taking away their voting rights forever. this is one of the things that is finally a question we are thinking through. so i think for these populations whether you're homeless, convicted person, migrate, it doesn't matter to you which of
these arguments is going to work, what matters to you is a tangibleffects of these argumen. that the burden that you are experiencing, the muslim traveler, the burden you're experiencing will be lifted somehow. >> the first of the four you call fairplay which is a good english concept and lawyers might call it due process. and you say that it can be valuable because it's morally judgmental. then inequality based argument. i think you would say the inequality based arguments when you rule against somebody that they may think they're being insulted and they may think i'm against same marriage and i lose are you call me a bigot. >> i think that is right. that's one of the advantages of something like a fairness argument. if you're in a heated argument with somebody over the notion of
equality there couple reasons why. there is a structure to the way these things in in a pattern that these arguments tend to follow. and when i think about equality arguments i think that they tend to fall along this path. that we often get stuck over the question of who is deserving of inequality. we assume that there is someone who doesn't deserve equality. and i talked about: for example. what about someone who is accused of being a terrorist. what about someone who doesn't quite look like me. what about someone who doesn't share my values? we talk about equality we talk about being stuck on this question. in the other part of this is when we say someone has violated someone's equality rights that's a morally judgmental thing that we are saying.
in the travel ban cases, we talked about, i think this is one of the things that the judge really get hung up on. is that if we strike the travel being down on the reason that it violates religious freedom are we saying that president trump is a religious bigot? it might be true that many of us think that already, but for the supreme court of the united states to say that the president to say is a bigot and that we strongly suggest the millions of people who voted for him by also be bigots. and i think this is one of the things that to not want to confront this question and indeed they end up documenting it. what about curtis, i think fairness can change a conversation. it's not the fairness questions are nonjudgmental, but there
judgmental about different things. there is not as judgment allies who are more judgmental about policies. about practices, about institutions. this institution is not fair. that institution is not here. let me give you an example, in the book i tell story, it's a story about a real case. it is set in 1930s in and of all the case called brown versus mississippi. or we might consider the forgotten brown case. and they know brown very well and what happened was there was a white planter was found dead in his home suspicion immediately centered on three or four people who were in the area and they were all african-american. what happened during the investigation was the sheriff
and his deputies rounding up these individuals and beat them severely including one on a tree to get him to confess. in the policy to this more than once. and he insisted he was innocent and the practices continue. eventually, the beatings went on that they made confessions. who wouldn't write to get the beatings to stop. they were prosecuted and given the death sentences. when they challenged the death sentences it appeared the arguments about equality would have had a hard time prevailing. in one of the reasons is because of a concern that if we take equality arguments too far in the criminal justice system that
we might change the criminal justice system too much. that this is one of the practical obstacles to equality in the criminal justice system. with the mississippi supreme court did in this case was to say we don't see a problem here. as long as a procedure in core were fine and we don't care how the evidence played out. when that was appealed to the united states supreme court i say, that the supreme court got it right and they sensed there was inequality problem here in the methods used against the poor suspects would not have been used against anybody else. it was not the kind of things that they did to like suspects for example. they talk about what's at stake in race-based terms. they saw that this was the case of unequal justice. but they cannot see that the time. all of these concerns about the racial equality at that time in the system prevented them from
doing it. what did they do? the good news they did exactly what i suggest in the book. i treat this as an example of supreme court trying to find some way to practical equality. they embrace the fairness argument. they say we will not worry at the moment about trying to judge these individuals of committee a moral wrong in a deep way but we will say that the institution and process was flawed from beginning to end and these individuals were entitled to be treated fairly through court system and to rely on confessions that were gone through beatings and fundamentally unfair. from my perspective this was an example of doing in a different way. >> citizen do the same work? the supreme court does two things, a resolved particular issues and announces principles and lots of cases.
we definitely have the broad legal principle. i don't know that this kind of decision on. his computer. >> i think that it does the exact same kind of work. it doesn't say these shares are morally blameworthy in a deep way in the casting of the community. that would have to be done by somebody else. on the other hand, if we had insisted that they do it overtly through the protection because they might not have been able to get to five votes to do it that way. and that's a serious problem. one of the things i talked about the book is we have to avoid what i call tragic presidents because they are fighting hard in there fighting in a way that leads to horrible results in
demoralizing activism that ends up creating monuments to inequality that can take generations to uproot. when you think of cases as good examples. in one of the things i think we have to keep in mind as we fight for equality is how do we fight hard but without falling into the trap that we are partly responsible for creating a terrible president like that. >> do you think your book might be timely in the current environment with the supreme court is just lately veered to the right and will not be a particular hospitable form for the voting arguments questioning. >> i think it's the kind where putting it. i put it more doctor that i think if you're progressive you look at the supreme court in the supreme court has lost for a generation or more. in the sense that the supreme court cannot be expected to be a predictable ally for whole number of progressive causes. whether that is the rights of
transgender people, or expanding the right of equality in other ways. i think it will be really hard to expect the supreme court to do that in the future. the good news, the good news is a we don't have to rely on the supreme court we can rely on other courts, there's a lot of great work the state supreme court are doing and this is a great opportunity to make both bold equality arguments into those justices in state court, as well as the other arguments i talk about. fairness and cruelty and so forth. so there's opportunities in litigation but there's also opportunities to make arguments and states and local communities to try to prevent the policies to be added in the first place. there is nothing that prevents us from making these arguments
to other people. to mayors, governors, attorney generals, as i like to tell my students, some of these places were your most demoralized, you just have to win a couple of key offices. when the governorship, or when the office of the attorney general. those positions have more power than any other position with the worst kinds of things that can happen. >> i want to skip over lightly to additional backup strategies, you mention rationality which is to say courts can look at laws and practices and say this does make sense. and that's available barring cruelty is the eighth amendment does in the human practice does. does or two other backup strategies. but particularly my background is in free-speech. although you say most of the backup strategies are
interlocking with the quality they are moving in the same direction. i think in speech and barely touch on this, there may be some tension. so consider his speech. hate speech is anathema to equality. it is under the u.s. constitution that we protected. how do you reconcile these things in which i do come down a >> is a great question because the top. it's tough because although in the united states we have taken one answer which is we have a very expansive understanding of spree entrance free-speech we protect individuals ability to spell hateful things up until the crust alike. that they're exhorting lawbreaking. and that is pretty expansionist in terms of protecting free speech. other countries do what we do and think were not. and they explosively repudiate what we do. it's not as though a choice that we have made as americans as the
correct choice under all circumstances. where do i come down, i think that that is a really good example where speech can be understood in tension with equality. because a lot of the things that lead to deep forms of inequality rely on the horrible sort of speech that is allowed to be expressed. that that is how these ideas are communicated and i find their way into the minds and behavior of people. there's no amount of denying that's true. at the same time, we still embrace and have a hopeful view of embracing the idea of free speech and even though we protect the right of people to excel these horrible things we don't think listeners are robots. we accept that it's possible and we hope that people will hear something that is crazy and
racist and bigoted and choose to say instead, your racist, your bigoted i don't agree with what you're saying. to me, the hopefulness that goes along with the desire to defend the ability of the dignity of the individual of expressing their view of whatever the view is. it is doing in a broader sense some of the work of equality. but as you say, is not an easy question. >> you have some education on trinitarian hesitation. more but in a different era. in the trap air, and the charlottesville area, do we need to rethink any of this questioning. >> i think that there are ways to rethink that question in terms of what the state can do in terms of monitoring groups
because of their past practices, merit being launched, and charlottesville for example, there are things that the university of virginia have done in the wake of what happened that are legitimate for example, if you're somebody or group that is crossed the line and violated the law, why you are expressing your free-speech values you could be in order to prohibit you from coming back and doing the same thing once again. that strategy has been and pursue quite effectively. in a way were not punishing somebody for the speech but were punishing them for their rule breaking after-the-fact and preventing the same row breaking in the future. >> i have a couple more questions but i know you guys will have lots of questions for robert so whenever you feel like it you can line up at the microphone. >> i would ask you about another situation in which two sets of values may be intentional.
you know the case in which a christian maker in colorado refused to make a custom cake for a same-sex marriage because it would violate his religious principles. the equality value is easy to see that people walk into a bakery would like to get served and don't like being told they are not welcome because they are gay. but there are lots of people who think the religious liberty value is meaningful to. >> i think i would say, while that situation is often described as one way liberty against equality, it's more complicated than that. let's start with a couple who is getting married and wants to get this cake. it's very important to them is very important that they're treated equally like other customers, there's a quality on the side but there is also into
people's mind speech, association, they believe they have the ability to go out and express themselves, who they are and that this is part of the expression of their identity and not everybody sees it that way. but lots of regular people and some academics see it that way. on the other side, was often described as a would-be situation has equality. because the religious objector either is it just objecting on his or her past, he is also objecting on the community the disagrees. to the extent that individual's right of conscience and say, or relight every religion is respected and possible entire groups religious beliefs are also deemed worthy of respect. so i think the take away here is you have liberty and equality on both sides and none of this tells us exactly where to draw
the line. but where it respects the ability of local communities that say living in colorado, decide that equality is very important value for this community, and enact laws like public laws that that is given a primary emphasis. and respect. and then from there we ask yourself, is there a way to give someone who is an object or the ability to object but without damaging the equality value. it might be a limited way to do that but if we think there isn't the my own view is, that the equality value should be given the most respect. >> the book was not out yet so kennedy could not a runner but. >> you can read it now. >> i bet he has by now but it was not then. but away he employed one-year
strategies but not the direction you would've employed it. because he went to the fairplay idea and he did not reach the equality question and he makes a play point and says one of the tribunals had not given the baker a fair shake therefore he went. >> is a great example. that teaches us that there's no magical formula. that if you make quantities regular arguments or if you make a full throated equality argument there is no guarantee that anyone is going to agree with us. we can just do the best we can and use as many tools as we possibly can come up with in order to attack equality in all the different ways. so there's one message from the book is that. >> was true to audience questions. >> very interesting argument. i have a two prompt question. one part, do you engage feminist theory in the book or could you
anticipate what your rebuttal would be to the obvious feminist critique the equality is the project and if you are fighting this massive historical system of subrogation if you're trying to batted down another ways like as a monster and you always be fighting it one way or another,/what do you think of intermediate scrutiny under the protection clause and is not a bessecond best for equal rights amendment or is there value in pursuing that amendment as activists are doing now. >> talk question out of the gate. i'll take the question first. i think the movement to get the ira enacted even though we have a deadline that we have to deal with, is good in that it adds something and has something specific and broader about the importance of equality and can
be important in a number of ways. other piece coming out in the next week or so that talks about this. and i urge states that haven't done this to do it and even if they don't have explicit equality provision in the constitution that this is a place where activism would be very valuable. one thing you could get out of it, is a protect reproductive rights more partially in the other thing you can get out of it is the way the courts see issues raised by transgender people would be taken more seriously and that's the tip of the iceberg. in terms of era i'm a huge component and doing as much as possible. your first question, is more of a strategy question.
it's one the activists and friends equality often face. that's true today and true back we're talking about abolitionist trying to decide what is the best way of taking down slavery. in helping the slave population. that is if we choose a strategy and make investments over here we don't have resources for the other arguments. are we siphoning the necessary resources away to direct attack. on the kinds of inequality and i just think that there's no way to get away from attention. that these difficult questions of where do we invest resources in which sites do we pursue first and what the backup strategies are always went to be with us. from my mind, if you care about quality, the moral argument is always going to be here lead argument. but the book is arguing that we
have to think about the backup arguments. there will be moments where we cannot convince somebody to change philosophically. there is sites find this. if the goal is to change people's minds and the fundamental philosophical way that there are lots of reasons why the project will never happen and it will take a long time. let's just say it's going to take a long time. so we had to see the arguments about quality and the moral sense or long-term conversation. same-sex equality, same-sex marriage was an example of this. but luckily we got there but around the way we can do other kinds of things to reduce some of the harms that the population space. we can do that we could be doing both things simultaneously. >> thank you. >> don't be shy.
i have a two prompt question. >> two-pronged questions tonight. >> some would argue that the founders did not really trust all the citizens. our democracy is not a pure democracy as a representative republic. so we can get too crazy. so if that is the case then, how do you reconcile circumstances, for example we got past slavery and slaves were freed and they were enslavement and stationed instituted laws that if it would be fine if you can pay back a survey for the rest of your
life. how do you reconcile that maybe we have equality and we trust the american people but at the same time the founders didn't fruitfully trust us. my second question, what is unconscious bias play in the role of equality and sometimes -- i was headed to the gym today and i decided through major close on the deck. and if a marking upon you may have an unconscious bias. how do we reconcile unconscious bias with equality. i'll take the last conference. i do think there's a deep connection between unconscious bias and discrimination. in the attitude that they fully don't understand and interrogate in treating people different.
there is recognition even though there's resistance for judges to use the term unconscious bias in detectable stereotypes. -based stereotypes, gender-based or types, racial stereotypes, and they recognized that there is a connection between tolerating stereotypes in the bias that can happen. in the book i talk about a few of these examples and i think that this is an area where you have to have more than one strategy. that taking a straight ahead moral argument about quality isn't going to get us to dealing with that problem. one of the things that i can demand that we interrogate the factual basis for certain kinds of claims. that someone who is a member of
a group that poses a threat. so the travel ban we mentioned, the deeper claim is that if you're muslim income from a muslim country that is inherently threatening at the same kind of argument that was made during world war ii as it relates to their japanese-americans. because these japanese people don't look like us then the strange cultural practices and how they send their kids to foreign language schools. they are somehow suspicious, their deserving of differential treatment because they're scary. this is an example of what you're talking about. one of the solutions and one of the things that can work better than direct arguments from equality is demanding more from more about the facts. show us more about what it is that somebody has done or the group is done that lines up with
a realistic projection of a forward-looking threat. if you can't do that then you are relying on stereotype or unconscious bias. as you say. the first part, it's a harder philosophical question to answer but i think you're right that our constitution was founded through a mixture of hodgepodge ideas. there is a deep commitment at the beginning to what you call republican values. the nation of what we need to do to implicate a virtue among people. and he thought too much power and everyday people. and it would be the downfall the united states. you're absolutely right that they design institutions in a
way that expressed. i think of it in very different place in lots of ways were in place today where we embrace notions of democracy one person, one vote. even as were hanging on to the relatives like the electoral college. that reflect some of the things that you have described. i don't have a real answer but i think we're trained to do our best embracing the newer belief in democracy and at the same time we're trying to figure out what to do with institutions that are hanging around. >> all by your book anyway. >> i think you forgot. >> by question is clarification. i did not really understand the rationale in your point in the case of the jim crow south 1930s supreme court decision where those who are concerned about
equality under the law for the accused because they had their confessions being out of them that the better strategy was to go to fairness it seems like both fairness and equality under the law would sort of rely on the same idea the african-americans should be treated fairly under the law and they should be treated equally under the law. i don't see why the one was a better strategy than the other. you mention equality in the justices were more sensitive to the whole strength and importance of overrating appurtenances. it is not the only -- >> a address a question so i can push a little deeper. there's more in the book about this. but, the concern that the justices had an even today a lot
of judges had about extending the notion of equality and certain context. like criminal justice systems. that they worry that it will change or alter someone's institutional prerogative in one example would be in the case that we are talking about the prerogative of investigators to use whatever techniques that they can that are presumably lawful to investigate. the prerogative of the prosecutor to make discretionary decisions about who to charge and what to charge. if we start to say that equality is an idea that can come to the space in the institution and constrain what investigators do and what prosecutors do, i think this is where the judges have historically and very sensitive
about doing that for this very reason. how is that different from fairness, i think you're totally right that from the perspective of many of us, they found a lot to say. and from the perspective of the defendant, whether your have a fairness argument and equality argument, it's lifted. that is the perspective that i encourage from a pragmatic point of view. but i think we cannot hide the fact that the way that we talk about equality raises serious and deep concern about changing the prospect hundred prosecutor discussion and the role of investigators in a way that judges would never want to do it possible. that was in a case where west virginia had explicitly set a statute that blackman could not serve on juries and they did say, equality comes in into the
situation to say that the state of virginia cannot do this but the reason why they say that in that case is because they say something about service as a very special social good. it is america's citizenship and something that we ought to be entitled to participate in truly respecting the society. that is really different right. that is the reason why to say equality is important. and they don't worry about interfering with prerogative. it's very different in the 1930s case unfortunately. >> other questions customer's. let me ask one in the meantime. i have been wondering how equality fits in with affirmative action. not that long ago ivy league universities and quotas about
how many jews they let in. that presents a quality problem customer. >> it does yes. >> today we are here information american students with lawsuits against harvard and north carolina. the something similar is going on with them. do you have a take on what the right way to think about that is coursework. >> is another area where americans are divided. if u.s. institutions whether there are colleges that have the demographics of their student body, they talk about the issues as one of educational experience of giving underrepresented groups and opportunities that they might be prevented from in the trying to balance a whole host of values if you will. this is the idea of diversity in the context that has been treated as a serious value.
that who we allow to go to school especially the state schools is important for the rest of their lives. and it sets them up for their futures. and the ability to pursue whatever the future they want to have. at the same time, as you say, we have to worry about them not taking it too far. that they might be discriminating in a way using the proxies and i think these cases will turn out only after we look carefully at the facts of the case. you can't tell what is going on based on the coverage. >> how do you reconcile the super pacs on them turning to campaigns and how do you think
that will play to our democracy when all the politicians are funded by corporation do the corporations have a lot of power. many would argue more power than the average citizen. how do you justify your book. >> i don't directly address it but i have it in my book. i think my thoughts are that i think you're right. i think that the problem with the supreme court in terms of corporate speech and campaign speech, the most recent cases that defend in a vigorous way, corporations outside political influence is a travesty. the problem is that they rely on speech as the court is hypocritical. they won't look as vigorously at the conditions that interfere with our ability to have the same impact on politics.
that is the problem. i don't have a problem with the court seen that speech is involved in political advocacy and the basic idea has been useful to a lot of different groups in society. in one of the groups at a certain point time was the revelation. there is very important cases and one of the things i talk about is one where the supreme court has trouble deciding whether estates restriction should be treated one as equality and they can't get five votes. they can only come up with three and half. there's one justice wrongfully. the story is, after the supreme court the board assumed interest certification including virginia what they do is a past creative law to prevent lawyers from doing public interest work in virginia passed a law that said no lawyer in virginia could
solicit a client and handle a case unless the organization itself had a financial interest in the outcome of the case. of course, that would put all interest at because people were volunteering their services with someone else. so a number of the justices thought that this was the problem of equality that was what was going on was virginia was trying to frustrate brown versus board of education and say you are trying to do this and run around equality and the other justices were not having it. and they said we do not mention race in the statue, and is a practical consideration that we have allowed virginia to be the practice of law. and if we start sticking equality into this domain and we will start creating all constitutional rules that we don't want to have there.
and so what happens in this that the story i tell is that the supreme court is an argument that nobody argued, nobody briefed free speech and they said the right to free speech in the form of political advocacy through was violated. this is great and this is an example for speech inequality lines up and i think thinking along the lines. >> we have time for one more question. >> how are you. great to see you. >> in response to the new criminal justice reform. which long-lasting implications
do you see in regards to the new changes and also in steps towards achieving equality and how is that reconciled with the current administration view on criminal justice. in a different direction compared to the last administration customer. >> there's a lot of components to the criminal justice reform bill. i think we could say that that is a good example of certain kinds of elected officials deciding that equality is something that they should care about. and that we ought to care about. in finding ways to reach a consensus and some people say compromise, i don't like compromise because it sounds like you compromise and what you're willing to take his half a loaf in this book is against the idea that if you believe inequality is to take half a loaf. we should be more clever or undercover and find ways to take more than half live. and what i see from the justice bill there were people who cared about racial equality as
mentioned in my book, there were a lot of people who worked on the legislation into a variety of different appeals to these people including republicans even jared kushner, my right customer he is one who convinced his father-in-law to take credit for it. and god bless him for that. so whatever arguments and variety of arguments were being made and i heard some had an impact into me the whole process is a good example of this. in terms of the actual prediction that will have the most lasting impact i'm not sure. give any ideas? >> not rain now. >> this is a fascinating discussion. please express your admiration to robert zide by copying and buying the book. >> thank you so much for coming out. thank you adam.
copies of robert's book are available at the checkout desk and he will be appear siding, please line up at the table and please pull up your tears and lay them against something solid. thank you. [inaudible] >> this weekend booktv has coverage of the virgin festival from charlottesville. with author discussions on music and social movement, race, politics and crime in america. starting today at 1:00 p.m. eastern in her book maybe forever stand a history of the black national anthem. biographers on frederick douglass and raymond discussing arthur ashe. melanie with her book allow me sisters. with freedom fighters and hell
raisers. charles marsh with can i get a witness, and authors lori anderson was shocked and jason reynolds with his book long way down. watch coverage of the virginia festival today. at 1:00 p.m. eastern public tv on c-span2. >> book tb offers live coverage of numerous pictures and festivals throughout the year. recently at the tucson festival of books albert recalled his time in solitary confinement. >> solitary is the most cruel and ambitious nonphysical form of charges. that a human being can inflict upon another human being. it took a find a person to a nine by six area 23 hours out of the day. in doing that time you have to
apply for your own sanity but you have to watch other men around you become insane and some men took their own lives. and doing this without you became cin, when you're in a situation in your working toward the end. so you say what i have to do is get out and then i can think about doing something else. that is not the case in solitary and particularly in prison. and i spent and i spent four years and ten months in solitary confinement. in holding me in solitary confinement at the time, i was a
member of the "black panther" party i recognize a chapter in a prison. and i was active in the prison itself in organized and prison corruption,. >> to us rest of the program visit our website book booktv.org. search for the author's name at the top of the page. [inaudible] [applause] >> good evening and welcome. i am president and ceo of the 911 memorial in museum as always it's a pleasure to greet you and welcome everyone toon