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Moral authority is an philosophical concept that should serve as a basis for, but is not in itself a rule of written law. The moral authority and legitimacy of law can be based on metaphysics or religion, on nature, on some aspect of society, or on the individual. It may be referred to as a "higher law", involving right reason, which calls a person to the performance of their duties and restrains them from doing wrong.
Constitutional democracy combines qualitative, substantive, "higher law" concepts of justice and universal equality derived primarily from classical civilization and Judeo-Christian religion with quantitative, procedural concepts of justice and equality derived primarily from the communitarian ethic of common law, republican traditions, and social contract theory.