Justice has been seen by many scholars as a premise about which much can be said but virtually nothing either proved or disproved through the application of the methodologies that provide the grounding for science. While justice is undeniably representative of a slippery and evasive set of concepts, it paradoxically reflects the fundamental values of Western society without which we cannot hold together the thin tissue of political organization that we call the "Rule of Law." As is described in the latter part of this article, justice is in fact a simple meta-principle, one about which we need not be able to establish its cosmic validity to make it meaningful and from which the underlying ordering of human society emerges. The scholar's dilemma is that societies require shared consensus far more than truth. This is the dilemma from which we must struggle to extract ourselves and our political community. Understanding justice and developing the richer dimensions of law in an effort to incorporate its principles are essential aspects of our justice mission which is of course at least as important as an on-going and fluid process as any assumptions concerning singular truths, goals, or visions of right. As I suggest at the conclusion of this article, the answer to the dilemma must begin from within us, not with institutional and intellectual externalities. Our problems go to the core of our humanity, our very conception of our selves, and will not be resolved short of that source of energy, values, creativity and destructiveness.


The Justice Mission of American Law Schools