Author

John Unice

Date of Award

1996

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Leadership Studies

Abstract

Morality, understood as the underlying beliefs and values that guide our choices, permeates our personal and professional lives. The Jepson School places a great deal of emphasis on moral leadership, for the importance of leading with a core set of values is discussed in nearly every class. Via my Jepson School experience, I have become sensitive to the issues surrounding the ethical decision-making process, and believe that this area is worthy of study. As a student leader, I have been faced with many situations that required moral or ethical decisions. As I hopefully join the legal profession, the need for moral decisions will most likely become even greater.

An interesting aspect of the legal profession is the judiciary, which often relies on a multitude of rules and precedents. Many believe that judges cannot always spearate themselves from their moral values, while others feel that this is·· necessary for the proper administration of justice. In many situations, having the legal right to do or decide something can be quite different from the morally or ethically "right" act. Therefore, the major issue to be addressed in this project is that of morality and its role in the judicial decision-making process. I will examine what experts believe is the proper role for morality in the courtroom, as well as whether or not judges are moral leaders.

American society has become increasingly entrenched in litigation. Subsequently, the perception of increased litigation has placed the legal profession under an immense amount of scrutiny. The ongoing debate about the role of morals in the courtroom, which this project will address. is particularly relevant because so many court decisions affect our daily lives. A detailed examination of the issues of morality and the role of morals m the courtroom is important, for it will enable us to better comprehend the dilemmas that many judges face as well as clarify what many believe is the proper place for morals. As leaders, judges make decisions that we are required to follow, so examining the impact of moral values on this form of leadership will provide insight into why and how judges act in many situations. Hopefully, this project will uncover many of the complexities that judges face in terms of morality and moral decision-making.

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