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How Kant's View of Perfect and Imperfect Duties Resolves an Alleged Moral Dilemma for Judges

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I clarify Kant's classification of duties and criticize the apocryphal tradition that, according to Kant, perfect duties trump imperfect duties. I then use Kant's view to argue that judges who believe that an action is immoral and should be illegal need not set aside their beliefs in order to comply with binding precedents that permit the action. The same view of morality that causes some people to oppose certain actions, including abortion, requires lower–court judges to comply with binding precedents. Therefore, someone's opposition to legal abortion, by itself, does not justify opposing that person's nomination to a lower court.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Ohio Dominican University 1216 Sunbury Road Columbus, OH 43219 U.S.A., Email:

Publication date: 2005-12-01

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