We are not about to tell public managers that it is ethically defensible to break a law. Given their promise to comply with the law, it is not. Moreover, those who do break the law may be personally liable. This is not to say that managers do not and will not do it; they do and will. Their reason is usually a good one, but it cannot serve as an excuse whereby the offenders seek to be held blameless.
When other ethical claims push in the direction of illegality, the manager confronts a true ethical dilemma. Any decision in this situation stirs controversy; people of good character and strong principles will disagree. The argument here is that the law is the center of gravity in public service, and the Constitution is the touchstone.
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Disobeying for Good Reason
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