The general theme of this course will be on legal judgments as both a justificat

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The general theme of this course will be on legal judgments as both a justification for, and an exercise of, state power. In the first, and more abstract, part of the course, we will focus on the relationship between legal and ethical judgments, and on the question of the obligation (if any) of private individuals and state actors each to respect the ethical judgments of the other. In the second part of the course, we will turn to some specific legal problems. Here our focus will be not only on what answers courts have given to the legal questions before them, but on how they have shaped the questions themselves. In particular we will be concerned with the question of what kinds of harms are recognized as legally redressable and what kinds of harms are relegated to the merely tragic. Here we will examine one area of so-called “private law” (torts) and one area of “public law” (equal protection with respect to race). This assignment is not necessarily to answer one of the study questions but an informal connection of the readings to the theme mentioned above with the study questions in mind.

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