Changing v. Nullifying Bad Law

I have always heard that if you don't like a law, you should change it. And you should obey it until it is changed. Doesn't nullification undercut that idea?


If we want to increase respect for the law, we have to make sure that our laws are respectable and broadly agreed to.

As a criminal trial juror, you are not faced with the question of whether you have a duty or right to violate an unjust law or not.  You are asked whether your conscience allows you to participate in unjustly convicting and punishing someone who has violated an unjust law.

And we are asking whether we should keep the truth from jurors about power to refuse to participate in perpetuating tyranny.

Would you participate as a juror with the government in unjustly punishing a fellow citizen? Besides, how many bad laws have you personally been responsible for repealing? Surely, you don't believe that all of the laws on the books past, present, or future have been, are, or will be just. It is incredibly difficult to repeal a law. And if you do manage to fight the good fight on a single law, thousands more new laws will be passed in the meantime.

Special interest pressures and the disposition of legislatures always lean to pass new laws, but rarely to repeal bad ones.

Another response to the assertion that we should not use jury power to stop bad law is, "Why?" Why shouldn't we use every power we as citizens have to achieve liberty and justice. The engines of government growth are very powerful. We need as much countervailing power as possible. The Founding Fathers knew we would need this power. We are simply reclaiming a lost tool that they believed in.

Jury power is the true American tradition of what is proper. Those who deny it are rejecting tradition, not supporting it.

The framers believed in jury nullification because it gave the people a fighting chance to keep man's law in synch with God's law (sometimes called natural law).  It is a way of helping us keep laws that are respectable.

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Tom Glass
    published this page in FAQs 2021-02-18 16:29:03 -0600