Christie’s Special Election Decision Is Good Policy
Posted at 3 p.m. on June 5
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced that the state will hold a special election in October to fill the vacant Senate seat left by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). While much of the discussion has focused on the political implications of the decision, Ethan Leib and Michael Serota make the case that this was the moral policy choice.
“Inheriting the idea of a ‘public fiduciary’ from Cicero and John Locke, America’s framers understood the essential ethical dimension to political office in the same terms that we understand other fiduciary relationships — those trusting relationships in which one person exercises discretion and control over the legal and practical interests of another, making decisions for them and standing in their place.”
“The beneficiaries of a fiduciary relationship in the private context can bring a lawsuit for a fiduciary’s self-interested behavior. Such a legal remedy does not exist in the public political sphere. Even so, the moral force of the doctrine remains. Christie is like any CEO with fiduciary obligations to the ‘corporation’ — in this case, the body politic.”