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Born Free and Equal?A Philosophical Inquiry into the Nature of Discrimination$
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Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199796113

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199796113.001.0001

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Discrimination in Punishment

Discrimination in Punishment

(p.217) { 8 } Discrimination in Punishment
Born Free and Equal?

Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8 explores a different issue of proportional representation, i.e. one that arises in connection with punishment. Suppose, say, that murderers belonging to a certain racial group are much more likely to receive capital punishment than murderers from other racial groups and that the difference reflects discrimination in punishment. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that a murderer deserves capital punishment, might a convicted murderer belonging to the former group complain, on grounds of justice, that he would not have been sentenced to death had he belonged to a different racial group (assuming that to be true, empirically speaking)? Some argue that given that a murderer deserves capital punishment, he is in no position to complain. In response, the author defends the view that this contention ignores the nature of what being in a position to complain involves and the nature of comparative justice.

Keywords:   Capital punishment, van den Haag, criteria vs. indicators of discrimination, proportional representation, moral complaints, comparative desert, Stephen Nathanson

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