I Do Solemnly Swear: The Moral Obligations of Legal Officials

I Do Solemnly Swear: The Moral Obligations of Legal Officials

By: Steve Sheppard (author)Hardback

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What should the people expect from their legal officials? This book asks whether officials can be moral and still follow the law, answering that the law requires them to do so. It revives the idea of the good official - the good lawyer, the good judge, the good president, the good legislator - that guided Cicero and Washington and that we seem to have forgotten. Based on stories and law cases from America's founding to the present, this book examines what is good and right in law and why officials must care. This overview of official duties, from oaths to the law itself, explains how morals and law work together to create freedom and justice, and it provides useful maxims to argue for the right answer in hard cases. Important for scholars but useful for lawyers and readable by anybody, this book explains how American law ought to work.

About Author

Steve Sheppard is the William Enfield Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. He has written articles in legal history, legal philosophy, international law, and the practice of law. With George Fletcher, he wrote American Law in a Global Context: The Basics. He is the editor of the Aspen Bouvier: A Law Dictionary, The Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, The History of Legal Education in the United States, Karl Llewellyn's The Bramble Bush, and several series of law books, as well as contributing introductions to the revived works of John Selden, Sir William Jones, and Francis Leiber, among others. He clerked and practised law in Mississippi and throughout the South and lives with his family in the Ozarks. He completed his doctorate in the science of law at Columbia University and holds other degrees from Columbia, Oxford University, and the University of Southern Mississippi.


1. Law and office; 2. The stakes: the interests of others in official actions; 3. Officials' obligations arise from more than the law alone; 4. The moral obligations of legal officials; 5. Patterns of relationship between legal and moral obligations; 6. Breaching duties; 7. Tools for the trade: maxims and fallacies.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780521513685
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 304
  • ID: 9780521513685
  • weight: 600
  • ISBN10: 0521513685

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