Question of the Week

For Yourself or a Client, Have You Ever Challenged What You Considered an Absurd Law?

This week, we noted a misdemeanor criminal case that the city of Oak Park, Mich., made against Julie Bass who planted a vegetable garden in her home’s front yard. The city says Bass violated a municipal code provision that says she must put “grass ground cover, shrubbery, or other suitable live plant material” in unpaved areas.

Bass is fighting the code, which her lawyer, Solomon Radner, says is unfair. “It doesn’t even come down to question of fact,” Radner told “It comes down to whether this law is too ambiguous to be legal.” He said Bass turned down the city’s offer to drop the case if she doesn’t plant the garden next year, but Bass refused, saying that the ordinance’s ambiguity allows it to “selectively enforce pretty much against anyone it wants.”

This week, we’d like to ask you: For yourself or a client, have you ever challenged what you considered an absurd law? Or, if you haven’t ever fought a code or a law in court, are there laws that you disagree with that you would fight if the right case presented itself?

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week’s question: Have You Ever Quit a Job on Principle, or Without Knowing When Your Next Paycheck Was Coming?

Featured answers:

Posted by Elvira: “I left a midsize regional firm when the managing partner told me I couldn’t take an important case I really cared about, squarely in my area of expertise, because the client (a national environmental organization) was too controversial. I realized I’d never again take a case that really mattered while working for this guy, so I quit and founded a nonprofit. Best decision I ever made.”

Posted by Consumer Law: “I wanted to leave my current position because of challenges facing one of our partners. I wrote a brief resignation letter and kept it in my car to review each time I was particularly frustrated. Writing the letter helped, just knowing I could leave the job if I needed to.”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

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