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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article first discusses key equality guarantees in law today. It then focuses on different understandings of the right to equality: as either a principle or an individually enforceable claim (the status); as an ‘empty idea’, a rationality test, or a ‘substantive’ right (the content); as a right of individuals or for groups (who bears the right?). It next examines equality as categorically distinctly structured as opposed to or as similar to other liberty interests (the test); as a general entitlement or as a specific guarantee to address particular inequalities, either separate or intersecting (the inequalities); and as general or specific regarding the application in distinct areas of life (the reach). Finally, the article addresses the often crucial question of whether equality as a fundamental right is directed exclusively against the state, or whether it may also have binding effects on other actors.

Keywords: right to equality, constitutional rights, fundamental rights, inequalities

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