Americans disagree profoundly on questions of moral principle. A policy that is morally necessary to some may be abhorrent to others. Examples abound: capital punishment, abortion, racial segregation, same-sex marriage, slavery, and alcohol prohibition have all at one point or another divided the moral convictions of different citizens of the United States. Moral disagreements of this kind can make it difficult for people of differing views to coexist in the same nation. If one group of people considers a policy morally required, and another group considers it abominable, then by unifying into one nation each group risks being forced to violate its deep moral commitments. Those holding opposing views might gain control of the government, and use that power to enact laws that are abhorrent to the minority.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Calabresi, Guido and Fish, Eric S., "Federalism and Moral Disagreement" (2016). Faculty Scholarship Series. 5144.