Justice and the Rule of Law

by Russ Roberts on June 10, 2010

in Legal Issues

Very thoughtful piece by David Rose on consequentialist thinking and the rule of law. An excerpt:

If confirmed, Ms. Kagan may hear a constitutional challenge to the mandatory insurance requirement of the new health-care law.

A nonconsequentialist judge would examine whether the Constitution empowers the federal government to require citizens to purchase a private good (health insurance) and make a ruling on that basis alone.

But a consequentialist judge would look beyond the law and consider the insurance mandate’s impact on society. Using this criterion, the consequentialist judge might see the mandate as a “benefit to public health” and a “compelling state interest.” Such thinking would lead to a loose interpretation of the Commerce Clause and an affirmation of an unprecedented loss of personal liberty in America.


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