Notion is that if we apply principles to our beliefs as well as to facts and circumstances, we will make judgments that will give effect to principles
Principle's application is much broader because it is to apply to all inequalities in primary social goods
Contends any inequality must benefit everyone but in particular must benefit least advantaged (Jones, 1980)
Equality is mark of social justice
Any acts promoting equality are justified provided they do not worsen situation of least advantaged
Reflects Kantian principle that people are never to be treated as means to an end but always as ends in themselves (Darwall, 1980)
As to distribution of wealth and income under second principle
While distribution of these need not be equal
Must be to advantage of all
Positions of authority and offices of command must be accessible to everyone
Rawls (1973) sees two principles as part of more general conception of justice, which he expresses in following terms:
All social values-liberty and opportunity, income and wealth, and basis of self-respect-are to be distributed equally unless unequal distribution of any, or all, of these values is to everyone's advantage
Emphasizes principles are for institutions to follow
Stresses need to avoid confusing principles of justice that apply to institutions with those that apply to individuals and their actions
Important to keep in mind that principles and original position concern hypothetical people in hypothetical situation
What is revealed is simply that if there were such people who went through process, then principles they agreed on would be justified (Holmes, 1998)
Is there fair, equal, and just application of the laws or are laws applied unfairly, unequally, or unjustly to certain groups by the criminal justice system?
Any examination of questions of inequality, unfairness, and the just application of laws would have to consider the position of marginalized groups such as the poor, minorities, and those without power in society.
Are such groups treated unjustly by the criminal justice system?
For example, are they subject to higher rates of arrest than other groups?
Is there discrimination based on race, gender, or socioeconomic status within the criminal justice system?
The discussion in Chapter 3 reveals that criminologists dispute the existence of any systematic discrimination within the criminal justice system, but agree that discrimination does occur at specific points in the system.
Does the criminal justice system treat women differently than men, and has increased policing of drug use affected women disproportionately?
Is there equal and fair access to justice regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status in the criminal justice system?
An examination of this issue would have to consider the racial disproportionality of the U.S. prison population, and in particular the effects of the "war on drugs" and "three strikes" legislation.
If minorities have less wealth, does this mean they are disadvantaged if they come into contact with the criminal justice system?
Can access to justice be improved for those without wealth, or must we simply accept the fact that inequalities will continue and that society will not follow Rawls's hypothetical model of surrendering equality in favor of advantaging the disadvantaged?