Justice as Integrity

Tolerance and the Moral Momentum of Law

By David Fagelson

Subjects: Constitutional Studies
Series: SUNY series in American Constitutionalism
Paperback : 9780791467640, 234 pages, June 2007
Hardcover : 9780791467633, 234 pages, September 2006

Table of contents

1. Morality, Tolerance, and Law
2. The Wages of Skepticism
3. Integrity and Obligation
4. Justice as Integrity
5. Liberal Perfectionism and Tolerance in American Law
6. Tolerance and the Virtue of Law

Strives to show why morality and, in particular, tolerance are each part of the idea of law.


Do any moral values underlie the foundations of law and society in America? In Justice as Integrity, David Fagelson argues that morality is indeed a part of the idea of law. Examining controversies of speech and privacy, he does not ignore the conservative communitarian streak in America, but argues that liberal tolerance best fits the social meanings of American political morality. While tolerance plays a critical role, different social practices yield different conceptions of tolerance. Judges must interpret any public text to develop coherent narratives that best explain the use of force in their jurisdiction. In America, Fagelson argues, liberal tolerance is the sovereign principle that the Supreme Court uses as a prism when interpreting social institutions like marriage, speech, and even death, to make them more consistent with personal autonomy.

David Fagelson is Associate Professor of Law and Society at American University.