Threats to the Rule of Law in America: A Survey – Preserving the Rule of Law in an Age of Disruption


This five-part series features panels of respected experts from across the political spectrum – including former government officials, judges and scholars –identifying current challenges and threats to the rule of law in America, discussing why they matter and proposing remedies. The goal is to create an ongoing and thought-provoking discussion among the legal profession, the academic community and the public about what can and should be done to assure that America remains a nation governed by law even in a time of crisis – or especially in a time of crisis – and to identify the actions necessary for our justice system to promote the impartial, equitable and effective enforcement of those laws.

This session broadly surveys recent developments that implicate, and may signal rejection of, traditional Constitutional roles and customary norms of behavior within the national government and each of its branches. Session 1 also takes an inventory of recent challenges to laws and norms involving the impartial administration of justice by law enforcement, prosecutors, the courts, and the Executive, as well as threats to individual and societal rights generally and to marginalized communities in particular. Individual speakers focus on constitutional checks and balances, politicization of the administration of justice, dramatic changes in how governmental agencies ascertain facts and make decisions, and trends in derogation of individual and societal rights, including voting rights and the promise of impartial justice for all.

Sheila S. Boston
, President, New York City Bar Association

Keynote Speaker:
Timothy Snyder
, Professor of History, Yale University; author, Tyranny and The Road to Unfreedom


Dennis Parker, Director, National Center for Law and Economic Justice
Cass Sunstein, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Joyce Vance, Professor of Law, University of Alabama School of Law; former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama

Sponsoring  Committee:  
Task Force on the Rule of Law, Stephen L. Kass, Chair

Rule of Law Forum:
Session 2: Checks, Balances and Oversight — the Distribution of Governmental Power and Information
Session 3: Interference with Judicial Independence and Local Law Enforcement
Session 4: Threats to Individual and Societal Rights
Session 5: Rebuilding the Rule of Law in America: What Can and Should the Legal Profession, Individual Lawyers and Citizens Do?