Wednesdays: January 10 – April 11, 2018
6 to 8 p.m.
West Village F, Room 20
Free and Open to the Public
Political regimes gain legitimacy when they observe the Rule of Law; leaders of liberal democracies often boast about their adherence to the Rule of Law. The Rule of Law is “much invoked, but inadequately defined.” Like most “essentially contested concepts,” the Rule of Law means many things to many people, but at its core it involves all members of a political community being subject to the same (well defined) laws and standards and an independent judiciary. However, we define it as much by its breach as by its adherence.
The World Justice Project suggests that the Rule of Law includes four necessary principles:
- Accountability: The government as well as members of the public and private actors are accountable under the law.
- Just Laws: The laws are clear, publicized, stable and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property and at least some human rights.
- Open Government: The processes by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced are accessible, fair, and efficient.
- Accessible & Impartial Dispute Resolution: Justice is delivered in a timely manner by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are accessible, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.
In the Spring 2018 Open Classroom, we will explore the definition of the Rule of Law, what it requires, what happens in its absence, and how it has declined and emerged globally. We will also explore some of the tensions between the Rule of Law and Democratic Governance, focusing on the Rule of Law in time of polarization and technological upheaval (as in the United States but also abroad).
Spring 2018 Schedule
|10||What is the Rule of Law? Is it Real or is Law Just Politics?||-Ted Landsmark, Distinguished Professor, Public Policy and Urban Affairs; Director, Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, Northeastern University
-Wendy Parmet, George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law, Northeastern University
-Jeremy Paul, Dean and Professor of Law, Northeastern University
-Dan Urman, Director of Hybrid & Online Programs, Northeastern School of Law
|17||Judicial Review: Anti-Democratic or Essential to Democracy||-Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard University|
|24||What Happens When there is no Rule of Law? Historical Examples: Symptoms, Effects, Rule of Law Under Authoritarian Regimes||-Jeffrey Burds, Associate Professor of History, Northeastern University
-Margaret Woo, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research and Interdisciplinary Education, Northeastern University
|31||Rule of Law: Challenges Posed by Economic Inequality & Stagnation||-Barry Bluestone, Russell B. and Andree B. Stearns Trustee Professor of Political Economy, Northeastern University
-Robert Kuttner, Co-Founder and Co-Editor, The American Prospect
(Special meeting on Monday this week.)
|Political Violence and Threats to the Rule of Law/The Lessons of 1968||-Rick Perlstein, Author of “Nixonland”|
|14||Partisanship, the Appointment of Judges, and Judicial Independence as a Core Feature of Rule of Law||-Peter Bennett, Member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary
-Fernande RV Duffly, retired Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court; Visiting Professor, Northeastern University School of Law
|21||Access to Justice & the Rule of Law||-Chief Justice Ralph Gants, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
-Stephen Subrin, Professor of Law Emeritus, Northeastern University
-Jacquelynne J. Bowman, Executive Director, Greater Boston Legal Services
|28||Voting Rights and the Rule of Law||-Larry Schwartztol, Counsel, United to Protect Democracy
-Michael Morley, Assistant Professor of Law, Barry University
|14||Free Speech/Academic Freedom and the Rule of Law||-Carol Rose, Executive Director, ACLU Massachusetts
-Rick Hasen, Chancellor's Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California Irvine
|21||What is Truth?/Role of the Media and Facts and the Rule of Law||-David Shribman, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist; Executive Editor, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
-Laurel Leff, Associate Professor of Journalism, Northeastern University
|28||Market-based & technological threats to the rule of law||-Andrew Perlman, Dean and Professor of Law, Suffolk University
-Andrea Matwyshyn, Professor of Law, Northeastern University
|4||Black Lives Matter: Race-Based Policing as a Threat to the Rule of Law||-Chiraag Bains, former Federal Prosecutor and Senior Official, Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; Author, Ferguson Report
-Patricia Williams, James L. Dohr Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
|11||Rule of Law: How to Keep It||-Michael Klarman, Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School|
Undergraduate students: PPUA 4225 and PPUA 4226
Graduate students: PPUA 7225 and PPUA 7226