My name is Stephan Stohler. I am a JD, PhD Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. I won’t leave for India until November, but I thought I should introduce myself nonetheless. In my dissertation, entitled The Fundamental Problem of Equal Protection: Courts and the Political Development of Equality Rights in Comparative Perspective, I ask why judges deviate from precedent and create new rules to govern equality rights cases. I show that, contrary to existing theories of judicial behavior, new ideas about equality embraced by evolving political coalitions influence judicial decision-making and help to explain changes in equality doctrine over time. To demonstrate this point, I investigate equality cases related to race or caste in South Africa, India, and the United States.
Originally from Switzerland, I grew up in Ann Arbor, MI and Seattle, WA before ending up in Philadelphia in 2006. I will be moving to Washington, DC in the next month or so, but I plan to be back at Penn regularly before heading to India in the fall.
I look forward to learning a lot more about India, its legal system, and its politics. I will be using this blog to develop some thoughts about the politics of equality and affirmative action in India (and perhaps elsewhere). Hopefully you will think this is an interesting and important topics and please check back regularly.