The Objectivity Of Judicial Decision Making And Interpretation.

1638 words - 7 pages

The expectation from our judges that they will always act objectively in making their decisions is correct but only to a certain extent. By using the theories of interpretation and judicial decision-making of both Dworkin and American Legal Realism, it is evident that a balancing act occurs between objective judgments and interpretation and subjective judgments and interpretation. Often, subjective judgments are the most dominant to a large extent. One must look at the ideas of Dworkin in terms of considering that judgments have aspects of both objectivity and subjectivity. One must also look at the ideas of American Legal Realism where subjectivity plays a gigantic role in judgments leaving objectivity with little or no influence whatsoever.

Dworkin believes in the idea that judges interpret cases and make their decisions as objectively as they can and as objectively as the law allows them. However, he also believes that there are gaps in the law which cause judges to be obliged to insert their own judicial discretion which thus gives us the proof of the existence of subjectivity in judicial interpretation and decisions. This idea is evident in the Riggs v Palmer case whereby a murderer was entitled to benefits of a will even though he was the person who killed the victim in order to benefit from such a will. This showed that the murderer was, in deed, acting in line with the law because in the particular circumstances, he was entitled to the benefits of the will but this was seen as problematic. This clearly showed that there was a gap in the law which reiterates what Dworkin has said because even though the murderer is acting within the lines of the law, by the court allowing him to benefit from the will, it would create a judicial precedent and general impression that murderers can gain benefits through killing another person.

The solution in this case was the use of moral principles which Dworkin claims is needed in order for judges to decide on a case. The idea of moral principles being used in judicial decision-making and interpretation is emphasized in the Riggs v Palmer case whereby the judge then decided upon a moral principle that the murderer shall not benefit from the valid will according to the principle which does not allow one to benefit from their own unlawful activity. This shows us that the idea that Dworkin has of moral principles playing a role in judicial decision-making and interpretation is correct to a large extent, and thus the use of subjectivity is accurate and apparent.

I agree with Dworkin on this because this idea of subjective decision-making and interpretation is evident in the American Legal Realism theory where rules (or law) are seen as insufficient to cover all different types of cases. Even though the theory of American Legal Realism believes in the above idea, it still believes that some laws do, in fact, cover certain cases and scenarios which allows for the direct application of the law and...

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