The Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues


Gary Lawson


I will start with the second of our two “group minds” problems, involving potentially differing understandings of fruit, because I think it is conceptually simpler, or at least more amenable to an answer, than is the first problem.

The precise question is how I would handle the problem of application of the fruit tax to tomatoes and kiwi if that problem came before me as a judge. That specification of interpretative role is crucial.

At the outset, we need one very important piece of information that is not provided: What is the governmental form of Lex? If Lex is a tyrannical oligarchy, in which judges who rule against the wishes of certain powerful legislators will be summarily executed, I would probably rule in whatever way minimized my chances of being executed. Which legislators are most in control of the machinery of violence in Lex? That is an empirical question that cannot be answered on these facts. If Lex were an evil—for example, socialist—regime that was not so depraved that it routinely executed judges who do not properly serve the regime’s agenda, I would probably rule in whatever way most undermined the regime without getting me or my family sent to a gulag. Again, it is an empirical question that we cannot answer on these facts which course of action will most undermine the evil regime.





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