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1. Overly strict or rigid adherence to the law or to a religious or moral code.
2. A legal term or expression, especially one that is unnecessarily technical.

le′gal·ist n.
le′gal·is′tic adj.
le′gal·is′ti·cal·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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For no man is such a legalist as the good Secularist.
military academies to accept the role of the military as a legalist corps in democratic settings.
While Hancock endorsed the way that enlightenment ideas of humanity, liberty and equality could find institutional form in the League of Nations or the United Nations, Davidson shows that he remained a practical idealist of a liberal reformist persuasion, who acknowledged the limitations of ethical standards and legalist principles when counted in the calculus of power.
The Qin Dynasty lasted only fifteen years, as its harsh legalist and authoritarian policies soon led to widespread rebellion.
(39) The lack of an international enforcement agency threatens the global legalist contention that states will comply with international law when it contradicts their self-interest.
He is a "legalist" in the true sense of the word and that is why he cannot be put in the group of political hypocrites.
Roberts also seems in the main to be a minimalist, which ought to warm Posner's heart because, as Posner sees it, "[j]udicial modesty or self-restraint, understood as the rejection of judicial activism in the sense of judicial aggrandizement at the expense of the other branches of government, is not a legalist idea but a pragmatic one" (pp.
In effect, both the legalist and the moralist versions of international organization conceived as the alternatives facing the word on the eve of the First World War have, a century later, been defeated by the global triumph of the sovereign state.
The great philosopher and legalist saw aberrant behavior as a spiritual illness that could be helped.
Regulation of data is nowhere near keeping up with the Internet age, and some of our legalist assumptions were outdated in the 19th century.
For Walzer, this "legalist paradigm" is "our baseline, our model, the fundamental structure for the moral comprehension of war." (3)
As Frank Cross has recently observed, the prevailing approaches to understanding the judicial function often reduce to two antagonists: "the legalist theory of formalist decision-making and the attitudinal theory of political decision-making." (16) In its strongest form, the legalist model is often identified with formalist and, in the constitutional field, originalist judges like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.