RE: [asa] Law, Mind, Free Will

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Tue Oct 28 2008 - 09:19:13 EDT

There is no doubt that it is easier to "impose" one's agenda via the US
Supreme Court and the Judiciary rather than the Legislature and even the
Executive branches. Witness Roe vs. Wade. The next president has from
one to three possible Supreme Court appointments.



From: [] On
Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 8:26 AM
To: Lynn Walker
Subject: Re: [asa] Law, Mind, Free Will


Interesting question Lynn. I see that quote is from Barack Obama. I'm
not really sure I can discern anything about his intentions from that
one quote. I see from the rest of the interview (which I'm assuming is
authentic, but I don't know that for sure) that Obama is suggesting the
legislature, rather than the courts, is the branch of government best
suited to implementing broad economic changes. I see also that the
author of the commentary attributes pernicious intent to Obama,
specifically an underlying agenda to pursue socialism in the U.S.
Personally I'm not sure such a broad conclusion can be drawn just from
these statements. (I am trying, BTW, to heed the moderator's recent
advice to avoid the political question of whether any policy agenda
Obama may or may not have is a good thing, and to focus instead on the
moral / scientific question of whether and to what extent we can know
another person's intentions.)&nb sp;

So the short answer is, taking Obama's words here at face value, his
intent seems to be to implement economic change primarily through the
legislature rather than primarily through the courts. Whether there is
some deeper hidden agenda, I can't tell.

On Tue, Oct 28, 2008 at 7:51 AM, Lynn Walker <>

David, please see my question below.


                -----Original Message-----
                From: "David Opderbeck" <>

                Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 15:39:17 -0400
                Subject: [asa] Law, Mind, Free Will

                We had a fascinating talk at the law school today by a
lawyer who is a behavioural psychologist. <snip>
                David W. Opderbeck - Associate Professor of Law Seton
Hall University Law School Gibbons Institute of Law, Science &


David, in response to your comments above, Louise Margaret Freeman
wrote this:



        Experiments in moral judgment are a very hot topic in research
right now and its quite clear that the capacity to discern another
person's intentions plays a huge role in the development of moral



As a Professor of Law, what are you able to discern about the intentions
(given the opportunity) of someone who made this statement?:


".. as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court,
it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential
constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution
- at least as it's been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in
the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative
liberties: [It] says what the states can't do to you, says what the
federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal
government or the state government must do on your behalf. .."





David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Tue Oct 28 09:19:33 2008

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