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If America is a representative democracy, does this imply rule by the majority? What legal and institutional conditions protect minority Americans (such as those of different race, sexual orientation, and religion of the majority and disenfranchised groups like the poor, the elderly, or people with disabilities)? Are these protections sufficient to meet a norm of egalitarianism? Please provide examples and evidence for your position.

Representative democracy implies but does not guarantee rule by the majority. Minority rights are protected by the Constitution, legislation, and the Supreme Court, though it is a matter of opinion whether this protection is sufficient.

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Representative democracy implies rule by the majority, but this is no more than an implication; it is certainly not a guarantee. If the majority (i.e., the popular vote) had prevailed in the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton would both have become President of the United...

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Representative democracy implies rule by the majority, but this is no more than an implication; it is certainly not a guarantee. If the majority (i.e., the popular vote) had prevailed in the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton would both have become President of the United States.

Minority groups are protected by the Constitution and by legislation, primarily the latter, since many minorities were intentionally disadvantaged under the law at the time when the Constitution was written. The Supreme Court can also make decisions that protect minority rights, though there is considerable dispute (for instance, between Originalists and Pragmatists) about the legal mechanism by which it does this. Important decisions by the Supreme Court often lead to new legislation.

A recent Supreme Court decision that protects marriage equality and the rights of same-sex couples was that of Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. However, this was a highly contentious decision, with four dissenting opinions, and the case might well have been decided differently in a less liberal Supreme Court. The fact that Supreme Court decisions are always liable to be overturned by a future Supreme Court of a different political and social persuasion means that the protections they offer to minorities are not particularly robust.

You will have your own views on whether the combined protection of the Constitution, legislation, and Supreme Court decisions are sufficient to meet "a norm of egalitarianism." Where this norm lies is also a subjective matter, which changes over time.

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