Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)

Article Title

The Amnesty Problem


Amnesty raises anew the agonizing problem of a society's responsibility to assure that the law is enforced. Often stated as the question whether we can afford not to enforce all the law all the time, the proper - and much more difficult - question is when to refrain from enforcing the law. For it is a platitude among lawyers that if every law were rigorously enforced there would be at least as many people inside the jails as outside them. To take only the most obvious of examples, full enforcement of the common prohibition on the use of profane language in public would almost daily clear the streets of people and sweep them into our prisons.