Hastings Law Journal


Government lawyers may be discharged for failing to carry out an assignment that violates their conscience or their conception of the Constitution. This is regrettable, especially given the special role of the government lawyer as an officer of the court committed to the public interest. Drawing on a wide range of analogies involving lawyers and non-lawyers, public and private employees, and citizens outside of the workplace, the authors argue that recognizing a right to conscience for government lawyers would in no way compromise the effective functioning of the government. They propose specific statutory language, as well as a canon of legal ethics, that would provide overdue legal protection and make public service more attractive.

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