Dworkin's Natural Law Theory

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CAN A JUDGE WHO BELIEVED IN FINNIS’S NATURAL LAW THEORY LEGITIMATELY AND CONSISTENTLY DECIDE CASES BY APPLYING DWORKIN’S INTERPRETIVE THEORY OF LAW? Dworkin understands rules in the positivist sense. Rules are statements of law which judges are obligated to apply where relevant. The key question at hand is whether judges can exercise discretion when deciding cases. Dworkin believes that judges do not have discretion. However, Finnis believes that judges do have discretion. According to Finnis, when the sources yield no determinate solution, all concerned have the responsibility of supplementing the sources to fill the gap by a choice guided by standards of fairness and other morally true principles and norms. Where possible, this must be done…show more content…
Firstly, Dworkin claims that judges make decisions based on principles representing society's moral values, and that judges cannot apply their own personal moral values when adjudicating. This claim is empirically incorrect. In reality, sometimes judges make decisions based partly on personal preference. Although the ideal judge, a Herculean judge, is supposed to be completely impartial, it is unrealistic to expect judges to be completely objective and…show more content…
However, he does not consider the possibility that just as there are cases where judges must go beyond the rules, there might be cases when judges must, or can, go beyond the principles. Dworkin takes it for granted that all cases are decided based on rules and principles. In doing so, I believe he neglects the possibility of the existence of another area in which judges might have discretion. While he may be able to rule out the occurrence of extremely ‘hard cases’, he needs to address the possibility. There is another controversial consideration that can sometimes provide a moral obligation to obey immoral laws. Since the law has moral force, it is morally important to ensure that the law is stable. Therefore citizens have a moral obligation to perform immoral laws for the sake of not undermining the legal system, and legal officials have a moral obligation enforce immoral laws for the same reason. In this way, it can sometimes be morally correct to obey the law, even if the law itself is not morally valid to avoid
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