Equality: Ethics and the Law
Our laws are supposed to advocate justice, and perhaps they do. But examine the word just. It implies honest, moral, fair and impartial, among other things, and while the law proclaims these virtues, it cannot always employ them. What positive law does is to ensure due process. This means only that it must follow the rule of law, its own law, which may be whatever the society that makes it, wishes. The law must make concessions in order to accomplish what it claims to seek—”the greatest good for the greatest number.” The law must judge.
The foregoing illustrates both the law’s ambiguity and its ethical status. The law operates on legal, not ethical, principle. This probably is as it should be. After all, we can’t always operate on the