Ronald Dworkin, opposing the legal positivism of H.L.A. Hart and John Austin, would have approached the Sims’ case much differently. Instead of looking to law as law, Dworkin would have invoked what he calls the integrity of law by having us ask what the principles of law behind the decision is based on. These principles are said to trump the laws assumed by their position as being sources of the laws themselves. The rule that
It is an integral part of the concept of principle that it has this dimension of overriding weight, which judges are presumed to take into account when using their discretion. Justice Shaw cites principles and policies as justification for the application of rules, to be sure. But if states’ rights is argued to be a principle unto itself, though it may be disputed whether some principles have more weight than others, Dworkin would argue that a Herculean judge, a judge who is omniscient with respect to law and legal decision-making, would use his discretion and conclude that principles of equality would override states’ rights in a hard case like Sims’.
The unsatisfying aspect of