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Reblogged:To Change the Law, Don't Undermine Rule of Law

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I am pro-choice until the moment of birth, but I cannot support this resolution.

Pine Lake, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, has unanimously passed a resolution against the use of local funds -- or law enforcement -- to enforce that state's reproductive rights-violating "heartbeat law:"
What if every official picked and chose which laws to enforce, or when, or for whom? (Image by Tingey Injury Law Firm, via Unsplash, license.)
The sweeping local resolution not only bans local funds from going toward recording, investigating or helping with the prosecution of the so-called "heartbeat law," it also instructs the city's four police officers not to make arrests, investigate, provide information about or even record reports of miscarriage or abortion.

It also declares that the City Council "supports an individual's right to choose" and that the council "has a responsibility to protect its residents from any violation of their human rights."

"There just wasn't a hesitation," Mayor Melanie Hammet said of the council meeting where the resolution passed. "I had each individual elected member of our group read a section of the resolution aloud to the room so that every woman would have had her voice on it." [bold added]
The resolution -- which the city had legal help drafting -- seems designed to provoke a test case or cause the theocrats who support such law to feel some well-deserved political pressure. Other localities and various local district attorneys have also stated they will not enforce that law:
[T]he enthusiasm among Republicans for strengthening, or even discussing, the restrictive abortion law has drained away as Election Day gets closer and polls show the new law is unpopular.

"I don't think you could pay people to bring this up right now," one Republican told me this week.

Nobody had to pay the women in Pine Lake to bring up the state's abortion ban. They brought it up and passed their best attempt to neuter the law by the time they were done. [bold added]
I applaud the sentiment beind these actions, but am concerned about the method, which -- on top of blatantly improper laws that ban abortion and undermine respect for the law -- further erodes rule of law.

Like local officials who didn't enforce asinine mask ordinances during the early part of the Covid pandemic, these officials are both violating their oaths of office and setting a bad precedent: What if every official picked and chose which laws to enforce, or when, or for whom?

Yes, fight bad laws that are on the books, but do so within the bounds of the law.

Civil disobedience (as an individual, and not as the elected representative of people who may or may not agree with you) is an option. For government officials, resignation -- or, say, a threat of mass resignation -- would be a more appropriate method.

Resignation recognizes -- and can be used to make it clear to the public -- that one's oath of office is in conflict with the job of protecting the individual rights of one's constituents. (Minimal compliance to the degree allowed by the law might sometimes be an option.)

In sum, I would guess that these officials see themselves as engaging in civil disobedience -- but their doing so as government officials violates their oaths to uphold the law, the principle of rule of law, and almost certainly the speech rights of one or more of their constituents.

-- CAV

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