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Much of the current debate between activists on "the left" and "the right" concerning the legal system can be conceived in purely jurisprudential, as opposed to political, terms. Today, many on the left insist that the decisions made by the legal system conform as closely as possible to some substantive conception of "justice" that is independent of the legal system itself. They call those who disagree "formalists." Many on the right insist that the procedural values of the "rule of law"-general rule-making, impartially administered among persons and over time-preempt concern for correct outcomes. They call those who disagree "result-oriented."

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Randy E. Barnett, Can Justice and the Rule of Law Be Reconciled?, Foreword to the “Symposium on Law and Philosophy,” 11 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 597 (1988).

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