When Bad Things are Done by Good People
Some people live their lives in a manner that would lead few to declare them good people. From Tony Soprano to Saddam Hussein to Bernie Madoff, we are all familiar with individuals who have made crime and violence a constant in their lives. There are far more people, though, who try generally to live good lives, but find themselves having acted or having failed to act in ways that are widely condemned as evil.nOver the course of our five meetings, we will be looking (through some books, reports and films) at case studies of such circumstances, ranging from clergy and others in authority who covered up evidence of sexual abuse, prosecutors who ignored evidence of wrongful convictions, lawyers who turned blind eyes to client misconduct, and soldiers who committed acts they would have once found unimaginable. We will also look at a contrasting case study of individuals who resisted great pressure and kept their moral compasses well-calibrated. Throughout our inquiry, we will reflect in particular on the power of institutions and authority in affecting ethical mores.nClass meeting dates: To be determined by instructor.nElements used in grading: Class attendance at all sessions and class participation.nDiscussions in Ethical and Professional Values Courses Ranking Form: To apply for this course, students must complete and submit a Ranking Form available on the SLS Registrar's Office website (see Registration and Selection of Classes for Stanford Law Students). See Ranking Form for instructions and submission deadline.