In recent months, critics have frequently invoked the concept of the rule of law to denounce protests and other public displays of outrage against systemic injustice. Yet rule of law has always meant much more than the preservation of public order. In fact, police brutality and self-appointed vigilantism against Black Americans are offenses against the rule of law — to say nothing of grossly disproportionate and militarized responses to largely peaceful protests.
The complicity of the White House and U.S. Department of Justice in these responses underscores the danger of eroding federal safeguards against abuse of power. These deteriorating protections compromise the rule of law and, by extension, the civil rights and liberties of all Americans. This is but one example of the many abuses of power related to law enforcement that we have seen over the last three and half years.
Restoring bulwarks against such abuses will be one of the most urgent tasks for the next Congress and president. This panel will discuss what’s at stake and what can be done to shore up protections for the rule of law in the federal government.
- Preet Bharara, Co-Chair, National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy; Distinguished Scholar in Residence, NYU School of Law; Co-Host, CAFE Insider
- Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)
- Donald B. Verrilli Jr., Member, National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy; Partner, Munger, Tolles & Olson; Former Solicitor General of the United States
- Christine Todd Whitman, President, Whitman Strategy Group