Media Mention

Paul Rosenzweig: Repairing the Rule of Law

September 7, 2020

Note: this piece was originally published in Lawfare, and was co-authored by Checks & Balances member Paul Rosenzweig. 

As the U.S. begins to see the light at the end of the Trumpian tunnel, it is time to begin thinking about the issue of repair. One should not assume the result of the election, but it is nonetheless worth asking the question: What should be done in a post-Trump world to restore the rule of law?

Of Trump’s many excesses, his assault on legal norms has to rank high in terms of damage to fundamental values that form the fabric of America. His attacks on the free press, the independent judiciary and the independence of the Department of Justice have all created significant damage. His abuse of executive discretionary authority has made a mockery of the concept of checks and balances. His gaming of the judicial system has revealed weaknesses in our legal process. His attempts to place himself (and his family and his business interests) above the law have called into question foundational national conceptions of equal justice. In short, President Trump has led a wrecking crew (aided and abetted by William Barr and Mitch McConnell) that has severely damaged American legal norms of behavior.

Trump’s attacks on foundational norms and principles leave policymakers with two choices. Lawmakers and voters can accept that damage and admit the inevitability of American decline, or they can fight to restore and strengthen the country’s legal guardrails. This post is an effort to begin that fight—to identify practical steps that the country can take to reinvigorate the rule of law and the concept of checks and balances.

Continue reading at Lawfare.

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