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    07.24.17 Professor William Araiza Interviewed by Texas Public Radio about ‘Animus’ in the Law
    Brooklyn Law School - William Araiza

    How do U.S. courts determine whether a law is biased? Professor William Araiza in an interview with Texas Public Radio discussed this question with the focus on the concept of “animus” in the law. Araiza said the concept extends across a variety of constitutional law doctrines, not just the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause, as seen with same-sex marriage cases, but also the First Amendment Establishment Clause, as evidenced in recent litigation over the Trump travel ban.

    Araiza said courts must ask in such cases: “What are the real reasons motivating government actions?” to uncover and untangle the motives behind government actions. “That’s a real challenge,” he said. In his recent book, Animus: A Short Introduction to Bias in the Law (NYU Press, 2017), Araiza advances a structure that can guide courts in deciding if a government action is grounded in animus.

    Araiza said determining animus “does require courts to be rational, it requires courts to be objective, and it requires courts to be as neutral as possible in cases that are often highly fraught…. It’s a real challenge for courts to apply this doctrine, but it’s more and more important, because as cultural polarization continues apace in this country, more and more actions sadly are going to be based on illegitimate motivations and courts are going to be asked to step in.”

    Araiza, an expert on constitutional law and administrative law, is also the author of Enforcing the Equal Protection Clause: Congressional Power, Judicial Doctrine, and Constitutional Law (NYU Press, 2016).

    Listen to the interview.

    Read more about Professor Araiza’s scholarship on animus in the law.