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Law Versus Justice (Business Ethics)

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Holmes states that everybody has a different justice concept based on their viewpoint, experience and social affiliation. Justice is seen as an effort to do what is "right". Since people are coming from a variety of backgrounds, their personal judgments and criterions will also vary. So we cannot be able to narrow or classify a decision like an absolute fairness. Justice is subjective to conscience and vice versa morality too. In this frame there is no place for morality in legal decision-making. Laws are prepared among the truths people examined in the process of finding some sort of justice. In most cases it is determined by consulting the majority and doesn't have to reflect everyone's opinion. However people are still required to obey them.

On the other hand Garrison's statement contradicts to the previous perspective. He believes in the absolute truth and the directive power of the law, which is certain, and grounded upon the inherent good and rectitude. It has a power over the conscience. Thus every legal decision also has to be moral. This is not a progressive opinion because every idea is static, clear and concise.

Aquina thinks that there should be a shared agreement during the determination of laws. His statement is not very clear but it is progressive. It can be assumed as the next stage of the idea that Holmes developed. Because in most cases everybody cannot have the same opinion at the same time. There is always a probability that somebody will oppose. Thus laws will still have to reflect majority's interest rather then all the people in the community.

I think if you help me analyze a specific situation, I will be able to proceed with confidence. Using the above three concepts, let's use the Ford Pinto Case as the example.

Ford was tried for homicide in a court case for the deaths of those who were in rear-end collisions where the gas tank exploded and the occupants of the vehicle were killed. As you know, Ford was not found guilty for the deaths. Instead, Ford was found guilty for its breach of the implied warranty of fitness and merchantability and negligence. Ford had to pay a large sum of money for punitive damages, the hospital bills, etc. Considering the circumstances, Ford's sentence was light. I ask the question, "Was justice served?" No, it was not. Why not? Apparently, society had not reached the level of Aquinas' thinking. Everyone could not agree that Ford's crime was one of homicide. Additionally, society had not reached the level of Garrison's concept whereby every legal decision also has be moral. On the other hand, Ford's actions were criminal; therefore, in order to mete out some sort of justice, the courts found Ford guilty of lesser crimes to which the majority would agree.

Does this make sense? Please advise.

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Law Versus Justice (Business Ethics)

According to Oliver Wendell Holmes, "We practice law, not justice. There is no such thin as objective justice which is a subjective matter. A man might feel justified in stealing a loaf of bread to fill his belly; the baker might think it most just for the thief's hands to be cut off, as in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.

According to William Lloyd Garrison, "That which is not just is not law."

According to Thomas Aquinas, "Where there is no consensus, there can be no law."

This is my last class in Business Ethics. I have done well. I did not have to ask a lot of questions during this session. Anyway, I have to write a paper about the above three quotes. I want to make certain that I understand their meaning.

Holmes believes that everyone must obey the law just because it is the law; therefore, if the law is unjust, everyone should obey the law anyway. Otherwise, there would be disorder in society. For example, for many years women were not allowed to vote. Even though this was discrimination, the law had to be obeyed.

Garrison's statement is somewhat complicated. Not everyone has the same idea of what justice is. Some may feel that stealing is just, while others would feel that it is unjust. Does this statement correlate in any way with Holmes' statement?

Aquinas' statement is also somewhat complicated. Using the example of no voting rights for women, we could conclude that this is how the women's rights came into existence. A concensus was reached that women should be able to vote, so the law was changed. Does Aquinas' statement correlate with the other two statements?

How are these statements related to each other? Do they contradict each other? Are they progressive? Does one start with one idea and then progress to the next level? Please advise. Thanks.

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