Saturday, January 31, 2015

American Law Is Not Moral, Only Ethical

By Kimberly Waldin
Kimberly Waldin, a third year student at Albany Law School and an Executive Editor of the Center, holds a B.A. from Russell Sage College, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1998.
Prior to law school, Kimberly was a visual and performing arts instructor for several nonprofits, working primarily as an Education Consultant for the New York State Theatre Institute for fifteen years. Currently, Kimberly is a Student Assistant for the Office of Children and Family Service, Office of the Ombudsman.
During her time at Albany Law School, Kimberly has been the recipient of the New York Bar Foundation's 2014 Judge Bernard S. Meyer Scholarship for her essay entitled, "Trash: Getting Rid of Unwanted Children through "Private Re-Homing,'" as well as the 2013 and the 2014 Hon. Robert G. Main, Sr. and Robert G. Main, Jr. Legal Scholarship.  Kimberly is also a Senior Editor for the Albany Government Law Review.

Where a crime is considered malum in se—a crime universally recognized to be wrong and “inherently immoral” —the overlap between ethics and morality is apparent.  But it is in the arena of malum prohibitum—where “an act . . . is a crime merely because it is prohibited by statute, although the act itself is not necessarily immoral” —that different, reasonable minds can find the act to be either right or wrong or perhaps a little of both.   This is where the nuance of morality versus ethics becomes important and equally misunderstood.
To read the paper, open HERE.