When to Break the Rules

Source: Law & Liberty
by Ronald D Dworkin

“In criticizing government’s obsession with adhering to rules, Chief Justice John Roberts once wrote in an opinion: ‘The government’s argument echoes the classic rejoinder of bureaucrats throughout history: If I make an exception for you, I’ll have to make one for everybody, so no exceptions.’ Justice Roberts was describing a problem that has dogged society for centuries. Every human community is compelled for the sake of self-preservation to have rules. Failing to consistently enforce those rules risks pushing society toward tyranny or anarchy. At the same time, some rules do not apply in every situation. Even a rule of justice, if applied too strictly, can lead to injustice. So the rule must be bent. But when? And who decides?” (09/20/22)