Getting to the Rule of Law
James E. Fleming
NYU Press, 2011 - Law - 311 pages
The rule of law has been celebrated as an unqualified human good and promoted around the world to secure economic development and political freedom. Yet there is considerable disagreement about just what the ideal of the rule of law requires. When people clamor for the preservation or extension of the rule of law, are they advocating a substantive conception of the rule of law respecting private property and promoting liberty, a formal conception emphasizing an inner morality of law, or a procedural conception stressing the right to be heard by an impartial tribunal and to make arguments about what the law is? When, if ever, are exertions of executive power outside the law justified on the ground that they may be necessary to maintain or restore the conditions for the rule of law in emergency circumstances, such as defending against terrorist attacks? What institutions or measures might be effective in bounding or checking such power? What are the promise and perils of attempting to build the rule of law after military interventions in conflict-ridden societies?When the might of intervening governments is brought to bear to make rights, does it distort rights and inflict costs that may more than offset the potential gains? In Getting to the Rule of Law a group of prominent, thoughtful contributors from a variety of disciplines address many of the theoretical legal, political, and moral issues raised by such questions and examine practical applications on the ground in the United States and around the world. This timely, interdisciplinary volume examines the ideal of the rule of law, questions when, if ever, executive power outside the law is justified to maintain or restore the rule of law, and explores the prospects for and perils of building the rule of law after military interventions.
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