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wicked laws

“I say that you cannot administer
a wicked law impartially.
You can only destroy.
You can only punish.
I warn you that a wicked law,
like cholera, destroys everyone
it touches — its upholders
as well as its defiers.”
— Jerome Lawrence
& Robert E. Lee
Source: the book, Inherit the Wind

“You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
— John Ehrlichman
(1925-1999) Counsel and Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under President Richard Nixon
Source: 1994 interview with Dan Baum,

Legalize It All

“[A]fter 20 years on the bench, I have concluded that Federal drug laws are a disaster. It is time to get the Government out of drug enforcement. … If the possession or distribution of drugs were no longer a Federal crime, other levels of government would face the choice of enforcement or … decriminalizing. … The variety, complexity and importance of these questions make it exceedingly clear that the Federal Government has no business being involved in any of them. What might be a hopeful solution in New York, could be a disaster in Idaho, and only State legislatures and city governments, not Congress, can pass laws tailored to local needs. … It [Congress] should repeal all Federal laws that prohibit or regulate their distribution …”
— Judge Whitman Knapp
(1909-2004) US Federal Judge (U.S. Dist. Ct., South. Dist. of N.Y.)
Source: May 9, 1993, letter to editor, New York Times.