As my contribution to this forum, I thought I would try to make a few tentative distinctions concerning the various tasks judges and commentators seek to assign to the Equal Protection Clause. Approaching it from this perspective spares me the necessity of getting into what one of the earlier speakers described as the more Byzantine details of current equal protection doctrine. Such a discussion would inevitably lead to criticisms of the Judiciary and certain commentators, to comparisons between what some might call the "liberal" and "conservative" approaches, and to discussion concerning the needs of a changing and dynamic society.
Each of these topics would be an interesting subject in its own right, but I do not think that extended discussion of any or all of them will get us any closer to a clear understanding of what it is that the Equal Protection Clause is supposed to do.
Robert A. Destro, Equality, Social Welfare and Equal Protection, 9 HARV. J. L. & PUB. POL’Y 51 (1986).