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Noun: color of law
Usage: US (elsewhere: colour of law)
  1. (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";
    - colour of law [Brit, Cdn]

Derived forms: colors of law

Type of: color [US], colour [Brit, Cdn], gloss, semblance

Encyclopedia: Color of law