Each of us is a member of an organized society. Each of us benefits from its existence and its order. And each of us must be ready, like Socrates, to accept the verdict of its institutions if we violate their mandate and our challenge is not vindicated.

IN a sense, Abe Fortas prejudged himself last year in that characteristically pithy statement on civil disobedience.

Last week, having violated society's mandate, Fortas reluctantly accepted its verdict by resigning from the U.S. Supreme Court. He thus became the only man in the history of the Republic to be forced from the high bench.

Fortas really had...

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