Limits of Legality: The Ethics of Lawless Judging by Jeffrey Brand-BallardLimits of Legality: The Ethics of Lawless Judging by Jeffrey Brand-Ballard

Limits of Legality: The Ethics of Lawless Judging

byJeffrey Brand-Ballard

Hardcover | June 9, 2010

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 453 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Judges sometimes hear cases in which the law, as they honestly understand it, requires results that they consider morally objectionable. Most people assume that, nevertheless, judges have an ethical obligation to apply the law correctly, at least in reasonably just legal systems. This is theview of most lawyers, legal scholars, and private citizens, but the arguments for it have received surprisingly little attention from philosophers. Combiming ethical theory with discussions of caselaw, Jeffrey Brand-Ballard challenges arguments for the traditional view, including arguments from the fact that judges swear oaths to uphold the law, and arguments from our duty to obey the law, among others. He then develops an alternative argumentbased on ways in which the rule of law promotes the good. Patterns of excessive judicial lawlessness, even when morally motivated, can damage the rule of law. Brand-Ballard explores the conditions under which individual judges are morally responsible for participating in destructive patterns oflawless judging. These arguments build upon recent theories of collective intentionality and presuppose an agent-neutral framework, rather than the agent-relative framework favored by many moral philosophers. Defying the conventional wisdom, Brand-Ballard argues that judges are not always morallyobligated to apply the law correctly. Although they have an obligation not to participate in patterns of excessive judicial lawlessness, an individual departure from the law so as to avoid an unjust result is rarely a moral mistake if the rule of law is otherwise healthy. Limits of Legality will interest philosophers, legal scholars, lawyers, and anyone concerned with the ethics of judging.
Jeffrey Brand-Ballard is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at George Washington University.
Title:Limits of Legality: The Ethics of Lawless JudgingFormat:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 6.3 × 9.29 × 1.18 inPublished:June 9, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195342291

ISBN - 13:9780195342291


Table of Contents

Part OneI. IntroductionII. Practical Reasons and Judicial Use of ForceIII. Deviating from Legal StandardsIV. The Legal Duties of JudgesV. The Normative Classification of Legal ResultsVI. Reasons to DeviateVII. Adherence RulesVIII. Obeying Adherence RulesIX. The Judicial OathX. Legal Duty and Political ObligationPart TwoXI. Systemic EffectsXII. Agent-Relative PrinciplesX111. Optimal Adherence RulesXIV. Treating Like Cases AlikeXV. ImplementationXVI. Theoretical ImplicationsXVII. Conclusion