Is Anti-Mutant Bias Invidious Discrimination?

Law student blogger Ivan Ludmer considers equal protection for mutants. Whatever the proper legal answer, I am sure equal protection alone would not have satisfied Eric Magnus Lehnsherr. (LvPB)

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. X-Men Aren't Human:
  2. Is Anti-Mutant Bias Invidious Discrimination?
Ken Arromdee:
Any discussion of this *has* to mention the Marvel Civil War event.

To summarize: there is a superhuman registration act. It is unclear exactly what it means to register, but it is being written as an attempt to create a superhero analogy to the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay (a summary here and here's a thread discussing it).

It bears some similarity to the earlier mutant registration act, but it seems Marvel is trying to sweep that under the rug and pretend this thing is completely new.

(Interestingly, it was casually mentioned in the comics that the NRA came out against the mutant registration act. They considered it similar to gun registration. I suspect that Marvel is going to studiously ignore any possibility that the NRA might join the side of right in this storyline.)
6.9.2006 10:13am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I believe the NRA Board of Directors voted against taking a side on the mutant registration act at the January 2005 meeting.
6.9.2006 1:33pm
Professor Y (mail):
And I believe that Sean Penn will neither declare for or against the registration act until he returns from his fact finding mission to Genosha.
6.9.2006 1:41pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
I don't find the arguments for applying the rational basis test versus compelling interest very compelling in this article. I kinda got the sense that he wanted the analysis to come out badly to use as a metaphor for what is happening today.

Still it's lots of fun. As a historical matter what have the courts done in equal protection cases where there is an objectively rational justification but the legislature was clearly motivated by simple dislike?
6.9.2006 3:38pm
James968 (mail):
It seems that on the mutant side there are 2 opposing viewpoints (any parallels? ):

Dr Xaviers position: Lets integrate into Society and do our best. Some of the best examples of this are Dr Jean Grey MD, Ambassador Henry McCoy (former Secretary of Mutant affairs), etc.

Mr Lehnsherr position: We deserve special rights* and we shall not integrate. (Interestingly Mr Lehnsherr himself has shifted positions and on occasion assumed a role much closer to Dr Xavier's).

*Up to an including rule over non-members or our minority

(I'm not a geek, I'm just waiting for a download on the Fedora 5 DVD.... oh wait.....)
6.10.2006 3:36am
Xavier is quite inconsistent; Being integrated into society very much includes being equally subject to the laws as anyone else. But in the comics there have been numerous occations where he's sent out the X-Men to rescue/jailbreak/round up some random mutant who have just killed or injured non-mutants accidentally or in self defence.

Hello Professor X? Ever heard about Trials? Self defence is a much better defence than assault on officers and evading arrest, and even in cases of accidental killings with good lawyers they might get a suspended sentence on the condition that you keep them within arms reach and under control.

And the reaction on the depowering drug in the third movie seems to be "We are totally against its existence, it should never be used, except if we need to use ourselves against some villain, but the non-mutants shouldn't be allowed to have it!"
If they were integrated into society they'd talk about safeguards against wrongful depowering, keeping it "Safe, legal and rare" and so on.

(Personally I'd love to read about the legal implications of civil forfeiture applied to mutant powers :)

Now the reason for this dissonance is that it is an Axiom of the X-Men that the authorities should be kept at arms length, since their Role is to be Outcasts and Rebels.
Unfortunately in practice it leads to Magneto talking about Mutant Sovereignity and practicing terror, and Xavier talking about integration and practicing Mutant Sovereignity.
6.10.2006 7:17am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
I bet gun control advicates will vote for the depowering drug.

On the subject of might mutants affect business antidiscrimination laws? I can think of one example: casinos will want to be able to legally turn away telekinetics - at craps, roulette, and other games involving moving parts - and telepaths - at poker (obviously) and blackjack (telepaths can read minds to learn other players' down cards). They can already discriminate against card counters, so the legal grounds for such would seem to be already in place.

But how would they detect telekinetics and telepaths? Most likely they'd need a finely-tuned version of Dr. Xavier's mutant-detecting device Cerebro, one that can spot the genes that cause the cheat-enabling mutations in question - something roughly analogous to security cameras. The device would have to have a much shorter range than Cerebro - on-premesis only - to saisfy privacy concerns.
6.10.2006 8:39am