Ronald Dworkin held that there are three types of civil disobedience:
“Integrity-based” civil disobedience occurs when a citizen disobeys a law she or he feels is immoral, as in the case of abolitionists disobeying the fugitive slave laws by refusing to turn over escaped slaves to authorities.
“Justice-based” civil disobedience occurs when a citizen disobeys laws to lay claim to some right denied to her or him, as when blacks illegally protested during the civil rights movement.
“Policy-based” civil disobedience occurs when a person breaks the law to change a policy (s)he believes is dangerously wrong.
~ Ken Kress and Scott W. Anderson (Spring 1989), Dworkin in Transition, 37, The American Journal of Comparative Law, pp. 337–351
A personal Statement from ‘barrister’ and director of plan.b earth (published yesterday) Tim Crosland has caused a stir, because of an apparently deliberate and pre-meditated breaching of a Supreme Court embargo on its decision on Heathrow’s Third Runway (published today). It began like this:
Tomorrow, 16 December, the Supreme Court will publish its judgement on Heathrow expansion. I have taken the decision to break the embargo on that decision as an act of civil disobedience. This will be treated as a “contempt of court” and I am ready to face the consequences. I have no choice but to protest the deep immorality of the Court’s ruling.
Lawyers will know that being in contempt of court can bring with it prison, although I am inclined (without I confess knowing much about contempt) to the view that this is not how the case will end. I’d expect more…
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