Note: This is an amazing 27 minutes debate pulled from history with all the nuances of the subject matter and the physical attributes of the 60's, including SMOKING ON TV! I encourage all to visit the source link and choose this video for fuller context!
KING: And then I would come back to answering the question. If the United States Supreme Court of the government of our nation issued a law, set forth a law or a decision stating that the public worship of God is unconstitutional, there would be a denial of the right of freedom of religion and to worship God publicly. Would you urge people to obey that and to be obedient to it and wait fifty or a hundred years through the century of litigation before protesting this?
KILPATRICK: No, sir, I would take the recourses that are provided under the law. I would try to impeach the Justices, for one thing, but I would go through legal procedures to try to do something about it. Though I may say on that very point, since you bring it up, that there is very high example in this country, in the Thomas Jefferson, whom you recite in one of your letters or that famous March 29th ad. In 1798, when the Supreme Court of the United States, through Washington and Justice [Samuel] Chase, had overthrown freedom of speech and freedom of press absolutely, exactly as you talk about overthrowing freedom of religion, and they drew up the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798, saying that a state had a right-had a right, and a power, and a duty-to put its sovereign powers between the court and, in this case the Congress also, and the people, so that that was a technique of resistance that was advocated by Jefferson whom you seem to admire a good deal." Now, let me go back to the question I put to you a while ago. If the Court should say this, would you be inclined to call off all your troops and disband your school down there where you're teaching them these techniques and so on?
KING: I go back to the argument, Mr. Kilpatrick, that an unjust law is no law at all.
KILPATRICK: And you reserve the right to say whether it?s just or unjust?
KING: And I think any law, I reserve the right to say whether it is just or unjust? Well, I think this, that on the basis of conscience-and how do we test conscience? On the basis of the insights of the ages through saints and prophets, on the basis of the best evidence of the intellectual disciplines of the day, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and what have you, on the basis of all that we find in the religious insights of the ages-and I think we will all agree that any law that degrades human personality is an unjust law, and one?s conscience should reveal that to him.
KILPATRICK: Would you extend the right, the same right to everyone else that you claim for yourself, to decide what is just and what is unjust?
KING: I would extend that right only if individuals will do it on the basis of conscience and in resisting it will do it in what I call a loving, nonviolent, peaceful sense, and not in terms of a violent, unloving, and uncivil sense.
KILPATRICK: This is the most remarkable exposition of obedience to law that I ever remember taking part in, in which everyone has the right to decide for himself on the basis of his conscience what laws he regards as just and what he regards as unjust.
Let me ask you about the boycott business since we have two or three minutes left. You?ve used the boycott as a very effective weapon, and you regard that certainly as the right of your forces not to buy and so on. Do you see any right comparable on the part of the storeowner not to sell? Do you see in your freedom to associate any right of others not to associate?
KING: I would say that on the one hand those individuals who are in the common market with their stores should not deny individuals access to the common market. I think, on the other hand, we must see that the boycott method as used by the students is not a negative thing.