The Wrong Side of the Tracks: A Revolutionary Rediscovery of the Common Law Tradition of Fairness in the Struggle Against Inequality

Charles Monroe Haar, Author Simon & Schuster $18.45 (335p) ISBN 978-0-671-60187-4
In the past, Americans seeking equal public services in poor neighborhoods have argued for them on constitutional grounds (rights to equal protection of the laws) in federal courts. Such efforts, note the authors, have often required deprived citizens to prove discrimination on racial grounds, which is difficult to do. In this well-researched study, Haar and Fessler propose that a more effective remedy for municipal service discrimination lies in Anglo-American common law, which for centuries has held that a provider of public services has a ""duty to serve.'' The bulk of their book examines this common-law doctrine in detail as it has evolved in court decisions (involving millers, ferries, railroads, etc.) from the 15th century to the present. The authors argue that the doctrine can become a ``compelling'' alternative in the state courts for advocates seeking to improve living conditions on the ``wrong side of the tracks.'' For specialists. Haar and Fessler teach law at Harvard and the University of California respectively. Photos not seen by PW. (April)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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