Monroe Freedman: Prophet of Biblical Justice

Commentators often assert that the overriding ideal behind Professor Monroe Freedman’s distinctive view of legal ethics was individual autonomy. Professor Freedman’s provocative Professional Responsibility of the Criminal Defense Lawyer: The Three Hardest Questions, and his even more provocative answers, have drawn criticism as being too focused on individual autonomy.

Certainly, Monroe had a profound respect for individual dignity and autonomy, and he readily asserted that respect for individual autonomy was central to his view of legal ethics. In what follows, however, I will suggest that his emphasis on dignity and autonomy were derived from an even deeper commitment to justice. More particularly, Monroe Freedman had a passion for and commitment to justice in the tradition of the Hebrew Bible.

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