The Craft of Legal Interpretation

  • W. Bradley WendelEmail author
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 95)


Legal scholars sometimes demand too much from legal determinacy or objectivity. In order for the law to perform its social function, it must be possible to identify well grounded legal positions and differentiate them from positions that lack sufficient support in the law. Using the example of the US government legal opinions authorizing torture, this chapter argues that lawyers can evaluate legal judgments for their plausibility. If this argument is sound, then as an ethical matter lawyers can be required to take responsibility for the quality of the legal advice they give to clients, and can be criticized in ethical terms for manipulating or abusing the law in the service of clients.


Legal Norm Internal Point Legal Reason Geneva Convention Legal Interpretation 
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  1. Rawls, John. 1993. Political Liberalism. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law School, Cornell UniversityNew YorkUS

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