In 1967, Ronald Dworkin proposed a distinction between principle and policy arguments. Policy arguments refer to general objectives related to the welfare or well-being of the community. Reasons of principle, in contrast, refer to requirements of justice, fairness or another dimension of political morality. The Constitutional Court of Colombia has recently made decisions founded mainly on reasons of policy. In 2018 the Court restricted the scope of a prohibition on employers to dismiss pregnant women, on the premise that this prohibition is counterproductive to women’s participation in the labor market. In another case, the Court held it was unreasonable to adopt an order protecting the right to education of rural students who took four hours to get to their school. Using these cases as examples, I propose a typology of policy reasons and discuss the conditions under which this kind of reasons may be legitimate or illegitimate in a judicial decision.
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