The Rule of Law in the Wake of Clinton
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For millennia, history has taught that civilization and human progress depend on the rule of law, a lesson evident today in those nations around the world where law barely exists. Yet even in America, which was founded out of respect for the rule of law, we have seen a growing disrespect for law and legal institutions, often coming from those very institutions, a disrespect that has grown alarmingly over the past eight years. The endless scandals that have surrounded the Clinton administration, and the administration’s repeated efforts to frustrate investigations of them, come immediately to mind, of course. But those are only the tip of the iceberg. In its political agenda, its legal briefs, and its executive actions, this administration has ignored both constitutional limits on government power and constitutional guarantees of individual liberty. In the name of restraining unpopular industries the administration has encouraged and even joined with others to launch assaults on centuries‐old common law principles. And it has politicized the institutions of justice at home while showing studied indifference to limits on its power abroad. Yet in all of this the guardians one would normally expect to be defending the rule of law have been either ineffective or complicit, raising serious questions about the endurance of respect for law. Please join us for a systematic examination of each of these issues.