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Legal Moralism: Justification for Law

Explain the pros and cons of legal moralism as a justification for law. Do you agree or disagree with legal moralism? (200-300 words)

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RESPONSE:

1. Explain the pros and cons of Legal Moralism as a justification for law. Do you agree or disagree with Legal Moralism? (200-300 words)

This ties into the larger debate of two theories: liberalism versus legal moralism. In his discussion of the Hart-Devlin debate, for example, Feinberg contrasts these two theories of criminalization: "liberalism" and "legal moralism" (see attached article).

Liberalism is the view that "the prevention of harm or offense to [nonconsenting] parties other than the actor is the only morally legitimate reason for a criminal prohibition."4 (1) Legal moralism, on the other hands, is the view that it is sometimes legitimate to use the criminal law to prevent actions simply because those actions are "inherently immoral even if those actions cause no harm or offense to nonconsenting third parties."(1)

There seems to be some justification for legal moralism in some cases. However, there are arguments against using legal moralism as a justification for law (e.g., sodomy, ...

Solution Summary

Supplemented with an article looking at both the opponents and critics of the theory as it compares to liberalism. 691 word response with 1 reference and article for further reading.

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