Rule of Law Task Force

The Task Force, the successor to the Task Force on National Security and the Rule of Law, discusses and deliberates on both domestic and international issues, including national security, those related to the U.S. Constitution and treaty obligations, and the question of norms versus laws. Working with other City Bar committees, the Task Force produces both quick-response short statements and comprehensive reports, and engages in programming, including panel discussions and podcasts.

By “Rule of Law” we refer generally to the framework for decision-making in a constitutional democracy that encompasses, among other things, due process of law, adherence to separation of powers and a system of checks and balances, the protection of fundamental rights, and the fair and equal administration of justice by an independent judiciary.


Election Protection Opportunities for Lawyers Are Here.


Lawyers, Law Professors and Law Students: Sign the Pledge to Support Nine Principles on Voting and the Rule of Law Here


Volunteer for Civic Education Opportunities Here


Task Force Videos


Session 1: The Changing Tides of Federalism – Video available here

Session 2: Interstate and Regulatory Clashes: Commerce, Corporate Conduct and Corporate Law – Video available here

Session 3: Abortion and the Chaos of Conflicting Mandates – Video available here

Session 4: Reconfiguring Governance: Navigating the Red-Blue Divide in America – Video available here.


The Need for a Special Tribunal on the Crime of Aggression in Ukraine (Video)



Session 1: The Rule of Law and Authoritarian Ascendance: the Nature and Scale of the Threat, and the Legal, Policy and Societal Responses to It — June 8, 2021 – Video available here

Session 2: Cooperation, Competition or Confrontation: China, the U.S. and the Rule of Law – June 22, 2021

Session 3: The Global Multilateral System, the Role of the U.S., and the Prospects for Addressing Today’s Greatest Challenges – December 7, 2021 – Video available here (click and scroll down)



Session 1: Threats to the Rule of Law in America: A Survey – September 15, 2020 – Video available here

Session 2: Checks, Balances and Oversight — the Distribution of Governmental Power and Information – September 22, 2020 – Video available here

Session 3: Interference with Judicial Independence and Local Law Enforcement – October 8, 2020 – Video available here

Session 4: Threats to Individual and Societal Rights – October 21, 2020 – Video available here

Session 5: Rebuilding the Rule of Law in America: What Can and Should the Legal Profession, Individual Lawyers and Citizens Do? – November 18, 2020 – Video available here

Related Resources

The City Bar has compiled highlights of past reports and statements regarding the rule of law and related issues, which can be accessed below.

  1. Congressional Oversight in the Aftermath of the Mueller Report 5/6/19
  2. Statement by New York City Bar Association President Roger Juan Maldonado on New Court Directive Requiring Judicial Warrants for ICE Arrests in Courthouses 4/17/19
  3. New York City Bar Association Statement on the Shutdown 1/17/19
  4. NYC Bar Association Backs Independent Immigration Courts 11/29/18
  5. Statement of the New York City Bar Association Concerning the Independence of Veterans Law Judges and Immigration Judges 11/28/18
  6. On the Independence of Lawyers, Judges, and Bar Associations 11/26/18
  7. Something There Is That Doesn’t Love a Wall 11/26/18
  8. City Bar Statement Opposing the Presidential Proclamation and Interim Final Rule to Limit Asylum Eligibility 11/9/18
    New York City Bar Association Statement on the President’s Targeting of the Free Press 11/8/18
  9. New York City Bar Association Condemns Recent Acts of Identity-Based Violence and Calls for Recommitment to Pluralism and Civil Speech 11/1/18
  10. City Bar Supports Independence of Judiciary in Response to Attorney General Sessions’ Complaint about “Unacceptable” Rulings 10/30/18
  11. Criminal Prosecution, Separation, and Detention of Families Seeking Asylum 7/6/18
  12. Statement of City Bar President Roger Juan Maldonado on Family Separations at the Border 6/20/18
  13. The Importance of Judicial Independence to the Rule of Law 6/14/18
  14. Advocating for the Protection of Lawyers and Judicial Independence 1/24/18
  15. Letter to President Trump regarding Presidential Authority to Initiate War Against North Korea 10/4/17
  16. Should Lawyers Speak out on the Rule of Law? 9/25/17
  17. Statement of the New York City Bar Association Regarding President Trump’s August 25, 2017 Pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio 9/8/17
  18. City Bar’s Response to Travel Ban and Attacks on the Judiciary 2/13/17
  19. ABA Adopts Resolution Co-Sponsored by City Bar & ABA International Law Section Urging President Trump to Withdraw Executive Order Restricting Immigration 2/7/17
  20. ABA urges President Trump to withdraw order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries 2/6/17
  21. Update on the Executive Order Restricting Immigration from Seven Muslim-Majority Countries 2/3/17
  22. Letter to Senate Judiciary Regarding Nomination of Senator Sessions for Attorney General 1/6/17
  23. Suggested reforms regarding the operation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the USA FREEDOM Act 8/23/16
  24. Statement regarding US policy on removal/deportation of immigrant women and children 1/29/16
  25. Letter to President Obama regarding the Large-Scale Detention of Immigrant Mothers and Children 5/26/15
  26. Letter to President Obama regarding denials of due process for immigrant mothers and children detained in New Mexico 8/20/14
  27. We Must Honor the Rule of Law for Desperate Children at the U.S. Border 7/31/14
  28. Letter to President Obama re: Release of Guantanamo Detainees Cleared for Release, and Closure of the Facility 5/1/13
  29. Letter to President Obama offering suggestions regarding the detention, treatment, and trial of detainees, national security and the rule of law 12/1/12
  30. City Bar Seeks Transparency on Targeted Killings 10/12/11
  31. New York City Bar Association Criticizes Protective Order Affecting Counsel for Guantanamo Detainees 4/21/11
  32. City Bar Statement Condemns Attacks on Department of Justice Lawyers who Represented Guantanamo Detainees 3/9/10
  33. New York City Bar Association Opposes Bill to Limit Terrorism Prosecutions to Military Tribunals 3/4/10
  34. Checks And Balances: Congressional Restriction of Federal Court Jurisdiction December 2008
  35. Torture by Proxy: International and Domestic Law Applicable to “Extraordinary Renditions” 10/29/04
  36. The Indefinite Detention of “Enemy Combatants”: Balancing Due Process and National Security in the Context of the War on Terror 2/6/04
  37. Inter Arma Silent Leges: In Times of Armed Conflict, Should the Laws be Silent? 11/13/01
  38. Alternatives to Impeachment: What May Congress Do? 12/9/98
  39. The Politics of Prosecution: The Independent Counsel Statute August 1998
  40. Archibald Cox – Some Reflections on Possible Abuses of Governmental Power 11/12/73
Of Interest

Introducing the Task Force on the Rule of Law – By Stephen L. Kass, Chair, Task Force on the Rule of Law

On National Security and the Rule of Law: from 9/11 to Today – By Mark R. Shulman, Former Chair, Task Force on National Security and the Rule of Law