Brown, Rehnquist and Contemporary Politics

Rick Duncan nebraskalawprof at
Mon Sep 12 07:57:03 PDT 2005

Frank: Violent protests are almost always counterproductive. I prefer the way of MLK and Mother Teresa to that of Malcom X. 
As for the killing of abortionists, I refer you to  Robbie George's explanation of his "personal opposition" to the killing of abortionists in First Things:


I am personally opposed to killing abortionists. However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in a sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view. Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go so far as to support mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even nonjudgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity-not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately pro-choice. 


Robert P. George is Professor of Politics at Princeton University and author, most recently, of Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Moralit

Frank Cross <crossf at> wrote:

Here's a question for those who feel that abortion is tantamount to the 
Holocaust, or slavery.
Why not support violence in pursuit of its abolition? For such a great 
evil, nonviolence almost seems complicitous. The abolitionists certainly 
did not eschew violence, and we fought a war against slaveholding states to 
free the slaves. If you believe abortion is comparable, would it not be 
moral to murder doctors and, perhaps, even Supreme Court justices to 
forestall the deaths. Is Eric Rudolph a champion?

Rick Duncan's post suggests that the answer to this cannot be respect for 
the law or constitutional processes, because he has lost all faith in 
them. So what is the argument against violent civil disobedience?

Rick Duncan 
Welpton Professor of Law 
University of Nebraska College of Law 
Lincoln, NE 68583-0902

"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow either Galahad or Mordred: middle things are gone." C.S.Lewis, Grand Miracle

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered."  --The Prisoner
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