Policy-Making, Discretionary Judgement, and Liberty

  • William Letwin


Every public official must exercise discretionary judgement in the course of carrying out his duties; does this inescapable necessity constitute a threat to liberty? If the exercise of judgement were inherently an act of license, tantamount to an exercise of unbridled power, then constitutionally limited government and its intended end of individual liberty would be unattainable and indeed scarcely approachable. If, on the other hand, officials’ judgements can be contained and regulated by law, then the hope of constitutional government would remain feasible. Arbitrary decision, wilful and lawless, is the enemy of liberty; but discretionary judgement is its essential servant.


Public Official Limited Government Dwelling Unit American Constitution Judicial Discretion 
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Copyright information

© George Feaver and Frederick Rosen 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Letwin

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