Starting with the idea that Judeo-Christian principles played a significant role in the development of American legal ethics, the author uses the writings of Moses as a lens to examine some challenges in judging. Moses authored the first five books of the Old Testament known as the Pentateuch or books of the law-Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The author begins by suggesting a caveat and an approach to interpretation. When examining the writings of Moses, we are not necessarily seeking a literal application. He suggests instead, that when looking at the writings of Moses, three questions should be answered: (1) what is the challenge in judging reflected in the passage?; (2) what is the underlying principle of the passage?; and (3) how should the principle apply today? Section II analyzes the Scripture where Moses’ father-in-law Jethro comes to visit, Section III parses the Scripture where Abraham is promised many descendants, and Section IV deals with Moses fleeing after being found guilty of a crime. Section V discusses the Scripture where Rachel steals the household idols from her father and Section VI considers three stories dealing with judgment. The author concludes by suggesting that Scripture can be helpful in thinking about issues of judicial ethics, and that it is particularly valuable in discerning some bright line principles.
44 Clev. St. L. Rev. 145 (1996)