Discovering the Logic of Legal Reasoning

The rule of law rests on the quality of legal reasoning. The rule of law requires that similar cases should be decided similarly, that each case should be decided on its merits, and that decision-making processes should comply with applicable rules of procedure and evidence. Making the reasoning behind such decision-making transparent and open to scrutiny shifts the decisions away from mere subjective preference and toward objective rationale. An important means, therefore, of achieving the rule of law is articulating and evaluating the various elements of legal reasoning—the reasoning involved in interpreting constitutions, statutes, and regulations, in balancing fundamental principles and policies, in adopting and modifying legal rules, in applying those rules to cases, in evaluating evidence, and in making ultimate decisions.

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