This is an explanation for passage 3 of LSAT preptest 30, the December 1999 LSAT. This passage is about Meyerson’s critique of Critical legal studies (CLS). The passage describes several reasons why she disagrees with CLS advocates.
This section has paragraph summaries and an analysis of the passage, links to the explanations for the questions are below.
- Meyerson’s critique of CLS: they exaggerate, and imagine false contradictions.
- Meyerson argues that most cases can be resolved, even if values conflict.
- It’s not arbitrary if there are two equally good solutions to a problem, if both solutions are better than all other solutions.
- Meyerson argues that the law and morality are separate.
This is a hard, dense passage. Reread parts you don’t understand. It takes extra time, but it will save you time in the end. It’s very easy to waste time if you move on to the questions without understanding the passage.
Paragraph three is hard. Meyerson argues that the law is not as arbitrary as CLS advocates claim. We can usually decide which competing value we consider most worthwhile. Even where two choices are equal, we can be happy that they are better than other, worse choices. i.e.
Option 1: Give the money to person A.
Option 2: Give the money to person B.
Option 3: Kill person A and person B for daring to bother the judge. Steal their money.
It’s hard to choose between options 1 and 2, but we can agree they’re better than option 3.
The last paragraph is also very hard. Meyerson doesn’t think we need to believe the law is moral. Her example of a game makes sense. We can understand how a game works (and we can understand how the rules of law work). But we can still say the game is immoral (or that the law is immoral).
In the last sentence, Meyerson thinks that we can judge external considerations as being part of the law. For example: if political considerations force judges to give harsh/lenient sentences, then we should judge those considerations as being part of the law.
But whether we think harsh/lenient sentences are morally right is different from our judgment of how the legal system works.
e.g. I expect the judge to give a sentence of 5 years, given the politics of the situation. I think such a sentence is morally wrong, given the crime.
The moral and legal judgments are separate. But we should view the politics of the sentence as being internal to (part of) the law.
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