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Unformatted text preview: . That is, the defendants cannot establish a lack of reasonable legal alternatives or a reasonable belief that there will be a direct causal relationship between their actions and the avoidance of the greater harm. Because these two prongs most commonly frustrate indirect civil disobedients, this discussion will focus on them. SLHS Value File CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE FAILS Bruce Ledewitz Professor of Law, Duquesne University School of Law ,B.S.F.S. Georgetown ,Yale School of Law ,CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, INJUNCTIONS, AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT ,Hofstra Law Review ,FALL, 1990,84-85 Another difficulty with justifying the practice of civil disobedience by its effect on great political issues is the lack of certain knowledge. It is usually assumed that civil disobedience actually did help to change the laws and practices it was used to oppose. Thus, the moral question becomes one of simply balancing the benefit of ending an immoral practice with the harm of encouraging lawlessness. Civil disobedience tends to appear quite beneficial in such a weighing process. There is no evidence that the American tradition of civil disobedience has led to a lessening of obedience to law outside of the context of political protest itself. Nor has the practice of illegal political protest grown to the point of threatening serious disruption to society. But the assumption that civil disobedience has done any good may be mistaken. No one can show that civil disobedience actually hastened the end of segregation, helped win women the vote, or helped bring an end to the Vietnam War. And many people believe that Operation Rescue has backfired politically. The most obvious response to this possibility is that social protest movements would not be so consistently obtuse in their choice of tactics as to choose a tactic that harms their causes. It is much more likely that civil disobedience helps the political movements that practice it, if only in continuing to attract the eye of the public. In any event, I am content...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13