Taking Ethics Codes Seriously: Broad Ethics Provisions and Unenumerated Ethical Obligations in a Comparative Hermeneutic Framework
Ethics scholars have documented the increasingly legislative form of twentieth-century ethics regulations, culminating in the enactment and widespread adoption of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Nevertheless, pointing to the presence of broad ethics provisions, a number of leading scholars have questioned the extent to which ethics codes can accurately be conceptualized as a form of legislation. Responding to these critiques, Levine aims to take seriously both the legislative form of ethics codes and their interpretation. Toward that aim, he looks to interpretive methodologies employed in American constitutional law and Jewish law to provide both descriptive and normative models for the analysis of ethics codes. Focusing on three broad provisions that have been the target of criticism, Levine examines three related yet conceptually distinct interpretive methodologies that have been employed to derive unenumerated constitutional rights and unenumerated biblical obligations, then proceeds to apply these methodologies to the interpretation of the three broad ethics provisions. Levine thus presents both on a descriptive level, through an analysis of court opinions, and on a normative level, a comparative framework for interpreting broad ethics provisions to derive and identify unenumerated ethical obligations. He concludes with a call for scholars and courts that have criticized broad ethics provisions to reexamine their approach and consider the viability of adopting the interpretive methods presented.
77 Tulane L. Rev. 527 (2003).
77 Tulane L. Rev. 527
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