Publication Citation

1 (2) IUSTITIA 7 (1973)


As I understand Mr. Sovern's proposition, we ought to expect a protest group to be at its most effective in court, since in the United States, adjudication is a widely and deeply respected method of resolving conflict and of presenting claims, of taking part in the shared traditions of decency and civility and law. If you want to avoid being criticized for impermissible methods, writing a brief is one of the easiest ways to avoid it. It doesn't involve rock-throwing, shouting, or even picketing. Yet, at this very place where one would expect a protest group to be most effective, it becomes least effective. There is, I suppose, the exception that even the most disreputable or unorthodox of protest groups may receive some element of defensive protection-that a court, that is, might help the group's members avoid jail even though they refuse civility to the civil authorities. Even so it is that paradox that I want to discuss.