color of law

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Noun1.color of law - a mere semblance of legal right; something done with the apparent authority of law but actually in contravention of law; "the plaintiff claimed that under color of law the officer had deprived him of his civil rights"
semblance, gloss, color, colour - an outward or token appearance or form that is deliberately misleading; "he hoped his claims would have a semblance of authenticity"; "he tried to give his falsehood the gloss of moral sanction"; "the situation soon took on a different color"
law, jurisprudence - the collection of rules imposed by authority; "civilization presupposes respect for the law"; "the great problem for jurisprudence to allow freedom while enforcing order"
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