Moralizing in Public

Chief Justice Earl Warren once remarked: “In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics.” There is, in other words, a foundation of ethical values for the law. In performing our legal duties, we are also satisfying our ethical obligations. While in an uncivilized society, enactments of tyranny or barbarism may motivate an obligation to obey the law, in a civilized society, the obligation to act ethically is not a result of this supposed obligation to obey alone, but a result of the binding ethical values that have informed the content of the law.

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