Do you ever feel like the laws in this country are unjust? Well, you’re not alone. There are plenty of examples of unjust laws right here in the United States. And it’s not just individual laws that can be unjust, but whole systems as well. For example, the death penalty is disproportionately applied to poor and minority defendants, even though they’re no more likely to commit crimes than anyone else.
Just Vs Unjust
What Makes a Law Unjust?
Unjust laws are everywhere. They affect us all in different ways, whether we realize it. Some unjust laws are apparent and need to be changed immediately, while others can go unnoticed for years.
A law is unjust when it violates the rights in place in a democracy. For example, a law that permits slavery would be unfair because it violates enslaved people’s civil and human rights.
- A law is just when it promotes and protects citizens’ rights (life, liberty, and property) according to a democratic society.
- For example, an army draft would get considered a just law because it protects the right of citizens to live by promoting their service in times of war.
In other words: A Just Law benefits the general population instead of only some individuals or minorities; An Unjust Law benefits those who make or enforce laws at the expense of those forced to obey them.
The following quote from Albert Einstein sums up very well what we just said:
How should we handle Unjust Laws in America?
This is a tricky question, and I don’t know if there is an easy answer. When dealing with unjust laws, it depends on the context of the situation.
For example, suppose the law was unjust because it allowed for police brutality. In that case, you might cope with changing your behaviors, protesting, or engaging in disruptive actions like civil disobedience.
- You could also work with policymakers to find new policy changes that make sense and can get done realistically.
- One option would be to inform legislators about how these law enforcement practices impact people’s lives and make them feel unsafe.
No Alcohol On Sunday?
The law against selling alcohol on Sundays: There are still plenty of places in America where this law is in effect. No one should be able to tell you when you can’t drink what you want.
Work Not Allowed
The law about how many hours people work per week: If someone wants to work more than 40 hours each week, they should be able to do so without getting punished by their company or government!
Women Can’t Drive
Until 2018, Saudi Arabia had a law that punished women for driving. These types of rules are highly sexist and unfair to women.
The law that makes it illegal for people under 18 to donate blood is exceptionally discriminatory toward young adults, who should contribute if they feel up to the task.
Same-Sex Marriage Laws
The law against same-sex marriage: Marriage should not just be between a man and a woman; anyone who wants to commit deserves equal treatment by society and the government.
The restrictions on selling raw milk: Regulation has gotten out of hand when innocent individuals can’t sell or buy what they want because someone else might get sick.
You Can’t Vote
There are several reasons why voter ID laws are unjust. One reason is that they disproportionately affect minority voters, who are less likely to have the required ID.
This is because these voters are less likely to have access to the necessary documents, such as a driver’s license or passport.
Another reason why voter ID laws are unjust is that they place an undue burden on voters. For many people, obtaining the required ID can be a time-consuming and expensive process. This can make it difficult for people to exercise their right to vote.
Finally, voter ID laws can lead to voter suppression. When people are unable to vote, it can hurt democracy. This is because it can reduce participation in elections and make it more difficult for certain groups of people to have their voices heard.
Being required to pay taxes even though you don’t have any income: The government doesn’t have the right to tell you that you have to pay taxes if they will help struggling people.
Another Unjust Marriage Law
Laws against marrying your cousin: This is a personal decision and should not get legislated by anyone other than yourself.
Laws Against Raising Animals
Not being allowed to keep chickens in your backyard: Chickens don’t harm society or anything else, so why would it matter how many of them someone owns?
No Fly Zone
Being required to get an ID card when getting on an airplane is an excellent example of present unjust laws: People shouldn’t treat innocent individuals like criminals simply because they want peace of mind.
Your landlord is telling you what colors can be used for paint inside your apartment (if you live in a rent-controlled apartment): You should be able to do what you want with a place you call home.
There are still places where slavery is legal: People shouldn’t be allowed to treat others like animals and violate their rights.
Laws prohibiting people from smoking marijuana for medical or recreational purposes: There’s no reason individuals can’t get the help they need, so this law requires change today.
School authorities must use specific bathroom facilities based on biological sex rather than gender identity: This is highly problematic because it targets transgender students who don’t feel safe using separate bathrooms.
Kids Can’t Fly
Not allowing children under 12 into commercial airplanes without an adult is entirely unfair because children don’t have the freedom to make decisions for themselves.
Laws against paying employees with cryptocurrency: The government should not say how people pay their workers.
Pets On Planes
Not allowing certain service animals on commercial airplanes: People who need assistance from a trained animal shouldn’t be discriminated against, especially when getting the help they desperately need while traveling.
We all know that laws are in place to protect us and keep us safe. But sometimes, the law can be unjust.
Illegal to Be Homeless
In many cities across the United States, homelessness is against the law. That means you can be fined or even arrested if you don’t have a place to stay. This law is unjust because it criminalizes people for being poor. And it’s not like they can just get a job and afford a place to live – it’s not that easy.
Sleeping In Cars
There are a few reasons why the law prohibiting sleeping in your car is unjust. First, it’s important to note that the law disproportionally affects people already experiencing poverty or homelessness.
People who can’t afford to rent or buy housing are often forced to sleep in their cars, and this law makes their situation even more difficult.
Second, this law criminalizes people for something they cannot control. People who are tired and need to sleep are not committing a crime and shouldn’t be treated like criminals.
Finally, this law creates a public safety hazard. If people are forced to sleep in their cars, they may do so in unsafe or unsanitary conditions, leading to accidents or health problems.
In conclusion, we hope to create a more just society by educating ourselves about the examples of bad laws and their origins. As you can see from this list of current laws that are unjust, the time to make changes is overdue.
If you’re interested in learning how these injustices affect people from different backgrounds or if you want to help support organizations working towards achieving justice, the links below will provide some good resources for doing so: