The rule of law

I just finished watching a talk by the new president of the ABA1. It covers a lot of good material. I am particularly interested in the World Justice Project.

I have recently been realizing how deeply important the rule of law is. I have reached the conclusion that both liberty and prosperity rely almost exclusively on the rule of law. This seems somewhat obvious to me now. However, the justice system in the United States is most often discussed in the context of lawyer jokes and complains about “activist judges”. I think it is quite possible that we in the US have mistaken the cause of our success. Rather than democracy being our key asset I think it may, in fact, be the importance we have, traditionally, placed on the rule of law.

I think some of the bad sentiment regarding the US justice system is a result of propaganda intend to weaken the rule of law. Not some grand conspiracy, mind you, just a lot of people who don’t mind the idea getting the best justice money can buy because they can afford it. Unfortunately, the law community has not really helped much. The fact that the middle and working classes are largely excluded from the justice system leads to a lack of respect. That lack of respect is easily exploited for propaganda purposes. What a nasty cycle.

Here’s hoping we can improve rule of law in our country so that it really does provide justice for all, and not just for those who can afford it. It is a worthy, though quite daunting, goal. Certainly, any improvements the ABA is able to foster will greatly appreciated.