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Dworkin paper - Scott Welch Law and Obligation Dr Kinlaw...

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Scott Welch Law and Obligation Dr. Kinlaw April 30, 2007 Law’s Empire: A Look at Statutes Ronald Dworkin offers us a new concept of law as integrity in his work in Law’s Empire . This concept appears to take theory of law to a dimension that allows, those who ascribe to it anyways, a potential to maneuver through the legal maze with at least some hope of finding a way out. It seems to advantage the believer by granting the judge power to interpret and advance legal policy in a way that takes into account the vital aspects of morality and justice. This paper will give a short, yet detailed, account of the argument for integrity and then it will review the role of legislative intent when deciding on which statutes to endorse and how these decisions play out in the American judicial system, with one question to remain. Does this theory allow a true escape from the restraints other interpretations of law entail? Dworkin devises law as integrity as a creed that denounces the roles of conventionalism and pragmatism in the legal spectrum. For this reason, it has been the recipient of many criticisms and objections. However, these criticisms will not be explored, so it is important to define integrity and attempt to understand why Dworkin chooses this virtue to defend in this theory. Dworkin argues for integrity in law through the discussion of other theories and in detail throughout the later half of the book. The foreshadowing of this concept is
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apparent while reading the first five chapters of the book, as he seems to be outlining a path away from conventionalism and pragmatism. As his theory concerns this paper it is, for the most part, only necessary to look at the sixth and seventh chapter of Law’s Empire . The former dealing with integrity in a general sense, and the later describes how integrity combines, and becomes, law. These chapters provide basic ground concepts needed as the paper plummets into Dworkin’s interpretation of law for the management of statutes. Integrity may be defined in several ways and not all of these fit to law as well as the following. Webster’s dictionary identifies integrity as, “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” (Webster) This definition seems to fit snuggly with Dworkin’s intentions for using law as integrity as the most valid theory for interpreting law as a whole. He says that through the use of law as integrity, “propositions of law are true if they figure in or follow from the principles of justice, fairness, and procedural due process.” (Pg. 225) The significance of this statement is grounded in a concept that through careful analysis and impartial treatment of society law, as an entity of society, can rule justly. This is only a glimpse of the argument for integrity, however.
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