•  915
    Standard Threats: How to Violate Basic Human Rights
    Social Theory and Practice 41 (3): 403-434. 2015.
    The paper addresses the nature of duties grounded in human rights. Rather than being protections against harm, per se, I contend that human rights largely shield against risk impositions to protected interests. “Risk imposition” is a normative idea requiring explication, but understanding dutiful action in its terms enables human rights to provide prospective policy guidance, hold institutions accountable, operate in non-ideal circumstances, embody impartiality among persons, and define the mo…Read more
  •  713
    The Binding Force of Nascent Norms of International Law
    Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 28 (1): 145-166. 2014.
    Demonstrating that a developing norm is not yet well established in international law is frequently thought to show that states are not bound by the norm as law. More precisely, showing that a purported international legal norm has only limited support from well-established international legal sources is normally seen as sufficient to rebut an obligation on the part of subjects to comply with the norm in virtue of its legal status. I contend that this view is mistaken. Nascent norms of internati…Read more
  •  152
    Judicial obligation to enforce the law is typically regarded as both unproblematic and important: unproblematic because there is little reason to doubt that judges have a general, if prima facie, obligation to enforce law, and important because the obligation gives judges significant reason to limit their concern in adjudication to applying the law. I challenge both of these assumptions and argue that norms of political legitimacy, which may be extra-legal, are irretrievably at the basis of resp…Read more
  •  124
    The Moral Authority of International Law
    APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Law 10 (1): 13-18. 2010.
    How should international law figure into the practical reasoning of agents who fall under its jurisdiction? How should the existence of an international legal norm regulating some activity affect a subject’s decision-making about that activity? This is a question concerning the general moral authority of international law. It concerns not simply the kind of authority international law claims, but the character of the authority it actually has. An authority, as I will use the term, is moral oblig…Read more
  •  96
    Liability to International Prosecution: The Nature of Universal Jurisdiction
    European Journal of International Law 28 (4): 1047-1067. 2017.
    The paper considers the proper method for theorizing about criminal jurisdiction. It challenges a received understanding of how to substantiate the right to punish, and articulates an alternative account of how that theoretical task is properly conducted. The received view says that a special relationship is the ground of a tribunal’s authority to prosecute and, hence, that a normative theory of that authority is faced with identifying a distinctive relation. The alternative account locates p…Read more
  •  73
    In a morally non-ideal legal system, how can law bind its subjects? How can the fact of a norm’s legality make it the case that practical reason is bound by that norm? Moreover, in such circumstances, what is the extent and character of law’s bindingness? I defend here an answer to these questions. I present a non-ideal theory of legality’s ability to produce binding reasons for action. It is not a descriptive account of law and its claims, it is a normative theory of legal reasoning for particu…Read more
  •  72
    Judicial Practical Reason: Judges in Morally Imperfect Legal Orders
    Law and Philosophy 30 (3): 319-352. 2011.
    I here address the question of how judges should decide questions before a court in morally imperfect legal systems. I characterize how moral considerations ought inform judicial reasoning given that the law may demand what it has no right to. Much of the large body of work on legal interpretation, with its focus on legal semantics and epistemology, does not adequately countenance the limited legitimacy of actual legal institutions to serve as a foundation for an ethics of adjudication. I offer …Read more
  •  59
    Reasons of Law: Dworkin on the Legal Decision
    Jurisprudence 7 (2): 210-230. 2016.
    Ronald Dworkin once identified the basic question of jurisprudence as: ‘What, in general, is a good reason for a decision by a court of law?’ I argue that, over the course of his career, Dworkin gave an essentially sound answer to this question. In fact, he gave a correct answer to a broader question: ‘What is a good reason for a legal decision, generally?’ For judges, officials of executive and administrative agencies, lawyers, non-governmental organizations, and ordinary subjects acting in the…Read more
  •  46
    Responsibility Allocation and Human Rights
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3): 627-642. 2017.
    How does morality allocate responsibility for what it requires? I am concerned here with one fundamental part of this question, namely, how morality determines responsibility when multiple agents are capable of contributing to or completing a moral task, and special relationships capable of generating duties with respect to the task are non-existent, insufficient as a moral response, or partly indeterminate. On one view, responsibility falls to the agents who can bear it with the least burden. I…Read more
  •  24
    Imposing Risk: A Normative Framework (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274): 209-212. 2019.
    Imposing Risk: A Normative Framework. By John Oberdiek.
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    Impunity and Hope
    Ratio Juris 32 (4): 415-438. 2019.