Color of Law

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

Color of Law

The appearance of a legal right.

The act of a state officer, regardless of whether or not the act is within the limits of his or her authority, is considered an act under color of law if the officer purports to be conducting himself or herself in the course of official duties.

Under the civil rights act of 1871 (42 U.S.C.A. Section 1983), color of law is synonymous with State Action, which is conduct by an officer that bears a sufficiently close nexus to a state so that the action is treated as though it is by the state.


Ku Klux Klan Act.

color of law

n. the appearance of an act being performed based upon legal right or enforcement of statute, when in reality no such right exists. An outstanding example is found in the civil rights acts which penalize law enforcement officers for violating civil rights by making arrests "under color of law" of peaceful protestors or to disrupt voter registration. It could apply to phony traffic arrests in order to raise revenue from fines or extort payoffs to forget the ticket.

References in periodicals archive ?
It is the least-developed part of The Color of Law.
Moreover, to the extent that plaintiffs continue to press their TVPA claims against Saleh Abdullah Kamel, we agree with the District Court that these claims must be dismissed because plaintiffs do not allege that he acted under color of law.
84) The Second Circuit concluded that a private cause of action under the ATS could proceed as long as the private individual or organization "acted in concert with" the state actor under the color of law.
2005) ("Grafting [section] 1983 color of law analysis onto international law claims would be an end-run around the accepted principle that most violations of international law can be committed only by states.
3d at 1316 ("Under the Alien Tort Statute, state actors are the main objects of the law of nations, but individuals may be liable, under the law of nations, for some conduct, such as war crimes, regardless of whether they acted under color of law of a foreign nation.
It does not matter if the person doing the intimidation is acting under color of law or not.
Furthermore, even private citizens are viable defendants in a [section] 242 prosecution if they act in concert with government officials acting under color of law.
Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, at 18 USC section 2511(c), provides, "It shall not be unlawful under this chapter for a person acting under color of law to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication, where such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception.
law only when committed by state officials or under color of law, the
In determining whether an entity or person is shielded from liability by this federal color of law statute, the U.
Donziger also says that contracts between oil firms and the Ecuadorian military are letting companies spy on Ecuadorian citizens under the color of law.
Shiite Muslim militia members have infiltrated Iraq's police force and are carrying out sectarian killings under the color of law," the Los Angeles Times reported on November 29.