Ali on Women’s Rights in Pakistan

Shaheen S. Ali has posted Overlapping Discursive Terrains of Culture, Law and Women’s Rights: An Exploratory Study on Legal Pluralism at Play in Pakistan. The abstract follows.

This paper argues that plural regulatory frameworks (‘laws’ broadly defined) including religion, culture, customs, tradition as well as ‘formal’ law (national and international) informing women’s human rights, collude to create and perpetuate gender hierarchies. Whilst ‘informal’ norms of culture, custom and tradition expressly advance this position, gender neutral laws adopted by the state and her institutions are suspect, as these too, operate within a male socio-legal and political environment. Using the example of Pakistan, the paper attempts to present the contours of an analytical framework for mounting a challenge to plural legal systems from the perspective of women’s lived experiences and realities of their being.

Garnett on Koppelman and Religious Neutrality

Richard Garnett just posted “Neutrality and the Good of Religious Freedom: An Appreciative Response to Professor Koppelman” on SSRN (check out his short post about the paper here as well).  The piece was prepared for the recent conference we held at Pepperdine Law School, titled “The Competing Claims of Law & Religion: Who Should Influence Whom” and will be published in the upcoming symposium volume of the Pepperdine Law Review dedicated to papers from the conference.  Here’s the abstract for Garnett’s paper:

This paper is a short response to an address, “And I Don’t Care What It Is: Religious Neutrality in American Law,” delivered by Prof. Andrew Koppelman at a conference, “The Competing Claims of Law and Religion: Who Should Influence Whom?”, which was held at Pepperdine University in February of 2012. In this response, it is suggested – among other things – that “American religious neutrality” is, as Koppelman argues, “coherent and attractive” because and to the extent that it is not neutral with respect to the goal and good of religious freedom.

Religious freedom, in the American tradition, is not what results from the operationalization in law of hostility toward religion. It is not (only) what results from a program of conflict-avoidance or division-dampening. It is not merely the product of those compromises that were necessary to secure the ratification of the original Constitution. It is, instead, a valuable and necessary feature of any attractive legal regime, because it reflects, promotes, and helps to constitute human flourishing. So, and again, the state should remain “neutral” with respect to most religious questions – primarily because the resolution of such questions is outside the jurisdiction, and not just the competence, of civil authorities – but it may and should affirm enthusiastically that religious freedom is a good thing that should be protected and nurtured in law and policy.