Prof. Nicholas Serafin joined the Santa Clara Law faculty in 2020. He researches at the intersection of moral and political philosophy and anti-discrimination law and policy
Why do you write?
I write to gain conceptual clarity about certain aspects of the law or of morality. Through my writing, I am also seeking to push the law in a more egalitarian direction.
Is there a scholar who most inspires you?
The chair of my dissertation committee, Elizabeth Anderson. Her scholarship is intellectually rigorous, morally compelling and deeply empirically informed.
What work are you most proud of, and why?
My work on immutability. I think ascriptive social identities are central to maintaining a caste system, and the (much maligned) immutability criterion is just the right legal tool for undermining this process.
What’s your next project?
My next projects concern the immutability criterion in asylum law and the “badges of slavery” reading of the 13th Amendment. A longer-term project revolves around what moral philosophers call the “basis” of equality. Egalitarians maintain that all persons are moral equals; yet, we differ in innumerable ways. What is it that makes us moral equals? Surprisingly there is, as of yet, no good answer to this question.