Outing Courtesy: The Role of Rude Dissent in Rule of Law Systems



This essay critically examines Keith Bybee's All Judges Are Political, Except When They Are Not. Although Bybee's creative use of the cultural form of courtesy helps us better understand the consensus-building and legitimating features of rule-of-law systems, it overlooks the role that rude dissent can play in exposing the violent, exclusionary, and materially disadvantaging aspects of such systems. Using examples of outing closeted public figures and the rude AIDS activism of the 1990s, this essay explores the rule of law from the perspective of those who are subject to it.