Ethics Class Case Study

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Chapter 3, Chapter Problem 7
Part A – Vo v. City of Garden Grove
The basis in the case of Vo v. City of Garden Grove lies within the debate of what is more important the right of free speech, which is given to all American’s as a right under Article 1 in the Constitutional Amendments, or safety of those using the internet cafes in question. Personal safety is not mentioned in the constitution, but as The United State of America’s second President, John Adams, said in 1798, “our constitution was made only for moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (Joe, 2005). Although the courts sided with the City of Garden Grove, one judge dissented, saying that the decision infringed upon the right to free speech. The debate becomes what is the ethical decision. According to utilitarian ethics, “the right way to behave in a given situation is to choose the alternative that is likely to produce the greatest overall good.” (Halbert & Ingulli, 2012, p.14). The greatest overall good in this situation can be seen in two different ways and it is all in the eyes of the beholder, to what each person would value as the most important factor. The greatest good could be seen in the value of human life and in safety and security of the citizens of Garden Grove. It could also be seen as allowing citizens of Garden Grove to voice their concerns via the internet without restricting and/or monitoring access through the means of a surveillance system. The dissenting judge makes a very valid point when he states that “consider that totalitarian governments have always cracked down on unrestricted access to the means of communication” (Halbert & Ingulli, 2012, p.122). When looking at the utilitarian viewpoint from the stance of the dissenting judge, the greatest overall good, the ability to utilize the freedom of speech, is of higher importance than the safety of the citizens of Garden Grove. As from his viewpoint, to maintain a democracy...
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