I recently had this question Why are "no pet" clauses allowed in leases?. I clearly knew the law, but was after either some case or some set of other laws that justify a certain law, rather than just asking the state of the law today.

Are these types of questions appropriate on this site?

Edit: "I clearly knew the law" in the sense that I knew that no pet clauses were allowed. But I didn't know about the fact that some discrimination were legally disallowed. I mean that I knew the consequence and was looking for the explanation.

3 Answers 3


The answer to your title is certainly yes. But one point to note: "legal reasoning" is different from "finding or understanding the reason why particular laws exist or don't exist," which seems to be what you are really asking about.

I think the answer to your "real" question is also yes, but with some caveats:

  1. You would have to make it more clear than you did in your referenced question that you were trying to understand the reason for the presence or absence of a law, rather than understanding what the law is.
  2. You would have to take pains to avoid "ranting." This isn't a political debate site, and the source of laws is often political.

That said, there is some really interesting history and philosophy of law that informs a lot of the laws we have today, and that aspect certainly seems on-topic for question and answer. For example, there might be a common law lineage for a particular law that traces back many hundreds of years. The congressional record pertaining to a statute, or the judicial opinions pertaining to case law, or their historical context, may be enlightening.

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    I'd actually enjoy seeing more cross-links to topics on History.SE or Politics.SE when a question of reasoning is brought to the table. Seems like the context would cause much improvement. I'm sure people can post to comments in the meantime. Jun 21, 2015 at 18:48

I think these questions might be on-topic, depending on what exactly is asked.

The issue is that this is Law.SE, not Politics.SE. We aren't really in the business of looking at why public policy cuts one way or the other, unless there are legal reasons for it. For instance, "Why is libel so hard to prove in the US?" would get an answer of "US free speech protections under the First Amendment are quite strong" on this site; Politics or even maybe History (I don't use History, so not sure) might be able to give an explanation of the history or culture behind why the US decided that free speech was so important.

For the example question, the legal answer is "no law prohibits this, because discrimination is legal by default." The "Why is Toronto like X while the US is like Y" is more of a question about politics than about law itself.


Probably. (US perspective)

The most important thing about the law is legal reasoning, not reciting statutes and cases. Someone who can regurgitate case names or statutes is good to have; but someone who knows why those cases were decided in that way is someone who is well attuned to the law and can make accurate predictions.

HOWEVER When one starts talking about legal reasoning, one gets into the area of practicing law. Knowing, understanding, and coherently illustrating the legal reasoning of a case is one of the primary duties of an attorney. We spend 3 years in law school where they "teach us to think like a lawyer." It seems that some questions about legal reasoning can easily cross the line from pure information into legal argument and practicing law without a license.

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