Under the Color of the Law

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Slava
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Under the Color of the Law

Postby Slava » Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:48 am

Any lawyers out there who can explain this in plain English? What does color have to do with law? I've read a couple of definitions, but am still quite hazy on this.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

brogine
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Re: Under the Color of the Law

Postby brogine » Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:52 pm

From the following, ‘ appearance, semblance’. Also, remember ‘colors’ can signify authority, as with a flag.

From the OED on ‘colour|color’:

(in law) appearance, semblance (a1292 or earlier), (in law) justification, plausibility (a1292 or earlier)

II. Figurative senses.
* Senses relating to outward appearance.
7. Law.
a. Apparent or de facto legal authority or status, esp. as opposed to that actually granted or established. Frequently with negative connotations, suggesting that the authority is used as a pretext for illegal or corrupt behaviour . Chiefly in colour of authority, colour of law, colour of office. Now chiefly U.S.
In negative use frequently overlapping with Phrases 2c, Phrases 2b.
a1325 Statutes of Realm (2011) v. 14 Ant alse hit is..ipurueid þat non escheitur, ne non oþer [kinges] baillif, þoru colur of his offiz, biþoute special warant, oþer commaundement, oþer certein auctorite þat appendez to his offiz, ne deseise no man of his fre tenement, ne of þing þat appendez to his fre tenement.
1579 Rastell's Expos. Termes Lawes (new ed.) f. 43/1 Colour of office, is alwaies taken in ye worst part, & signifieth an act euel done, by the countenance of an office, and it beareth a dissemblinge face of the right office.

Before 1325!

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Slava
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Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: Under the Color of the Law

Postby Slava » Sun Sep 12, 2021 7:17 pm

Thank you for this. It sounds like 'color of the law' means something along the lines of saying you can do it because you say your position makes it okay. Hiding behind the law, while going beyond it.

Or do I misconstrue?
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

brogine
Junior Lexiterian
Posts: 90
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 4:41 pm

Re: Under the Color of the Law

Postby brogine » Sun Sep 12, 2021 7:30 pm

I myself don’t see any negative connotation, but wiser heads might agree with you. Good talking to you.


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