Legal Moralism and Liberalism
Jeffrie G. Murphy
Arizona State University College of Law
Arizona Law Review, Vol. 37, p. 73, 1995
This article examines the relationship of, and potential conflicts within, modern liberalism which proceeds from the starting place of the harm principle, retributivism and fundamental rights constitutionalism. This position holds that consensual action that does not harm another need not be punished. Such a system differs from a legal moralist position, which posits that there may be certain actions that, while not harming any other individuals, may still be wrong and deserving of punishment. These conflicting positions were best represented by the Hart-Devlin Debate. While the legal moralist position has been discounted for years, this article resurrects it and shows that this argument should not be dismissed quite so easily, and in its resurrection offers liberalism a useful critique of some of its own inherent contradictions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: Legal Moralism, Hart-Devlin Debate, Criminal Law
Date posted: August 27, 2009
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