« Serial 2:5 | Main | Hello from warm and sunny Cleveland »

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Bibas on "The Decline of Mercy"

Over at First Things, Prof. Stephanos Bibas - whose "The Machinery of Criminal Justice" I really enjoyed -- has a review  of this book, "The Decline of Mercy in Public Life," by Alex Tuckness and John Parrish.  Bibas concludes with this:

Justice requires discretion as well as rules, and it can coexist with mercy.

When our laws deny this truth, they grow mechanistic and inhumane. Strenuously squelching arbitrariness simply drives discretion underground (say, from judges and juries to prosecutors) or forces everyone into the same Procrustean bed. Exalting rights and censoring empathy can be heartless toward criminal defendants and debtors. Government social programs risk crowding out charitable expressions of love that remind ourselves that the poor are our brethren and we are all our brothers’ keepers. And all of these rule-based, bureaucratic approaches miss opportunities to inculcate the virtue of mercy in our hearts as well as in our children’s. Government cannot mirror Christian teaching, particularly in a pluralistic country. But it can leave more room for Christian insights to leaven rules with mercy, compassion, and love.

I shared the review with my CrimLaw students and thought it might be of interest to CrimPrawfs, too!  And, I am reminded that our dear friend and colleague, Dan Markel, published an article early in his career -- in 2004 -- called  "Against Mercy."  

 

Posted by Rick Garnett on February 3, 2016 at 10:44 AM in Criminal Law, Rick Garnett | Permalink

Comments

The comments to this entry are closed.