The phrase "law as an ass" is normally used to condemn rigid and strict application of legal rules. For example, in law, ignorance of law is not an excuse but should a stark illiterate person be prevented from raising a defense of lack of knowledge of law as much as a well-educated fellow? That is the law; whether educated or not, nobody is allowed to plead ignorance of law as a defense.


Again, law, in most places, sees marriage as a contract between two people but under the Californian law in the U.S, a human being is legally permitted to marry an animal. How can an animal give its consent to a marriage? Yet under that state's law that is the law, no matter how it runs contrary to common-sense.


The phrase (i.e. the law is an ass) was popularized by Charles Dickens in his novel Oliver Twist published in 1838.
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