Let's think about whether all acts of Congress deserve our respect and obedience. Suppose Congress enacted a law -- and the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional -- requiring American families to attend church services at least three times a month. Should we obey such a law? Suppose Congress, acting under the Constitution's commerce clause, enacted a law requiring motorists to get eight hours of sleep before driving on interstate highways. Its justification might be that drowsy motorists risk highway accidents and accidents affect interstate commerce. Suppose you were a jury member during the 1850s and a free person were on trial...
I believe that those who violate the law (either actively or passively) on moral grounds have the moral obligation to accept the punishment that the law provides for its violators. Very few advocates of active or passive resistance to law seem to publically share this view – they seem to think that their self proclaimed righteousness exempts them from the penalties of the law. I despise that point of view. And I am uncertain where Williams stands on that issue.
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