This is Judge Rakoff's first words in the case of Garcia v. Bloomberg, upholding the rights of the wrongly arrested to sue by class action.
What a huge debt this nation owes to its "troublemakers." From Thomas Paine to Martin Luther King, Jr., they have forced us to focus on problems we would prefer to downplay or ignore. Yet it is often only with hindsight that we can distinguish those troublemakers who brought us to our senses from those who were simply troublemakers. Prudence, and respect for the constitutional rights to free speech and free association, therefore dictate that the legal system cut all non-violent protesters a fair amount of slack. These observations are prompted by the instant lawsuit, in which a putative class of some 700 or so "Occupy Wall Street" protesters contend they were unlawfully arrested while crossing theComplete opinion here:
Brooklyn Bridge on October I, 2011.
Please to call you your honor this day, Judge Rakoff.