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Whose Rule of Law?

The mounting evidence of former US President Donald Trump's serial legal violations should put an end to the idea that the rule of law is a reliably persistent feature of wealthy, "mature" countries. With that shibboleth removed, the work of determining real-world underpinnings of effective legal systems can come to the fore.

CAMBRIDGE – In the early 2000s, there was a near-unanimous consensus among academic lawyers that the absence of the rule of law was strictly a “Third World problem” – meaning one that the advanced economies of the Global North had solved. Yet, just over a decade later, the United States elected as president a man who would go on to incite an insurrection at the US Capitol, conspire to overturn an election that he lost, abscond with classified documents when he finally left the White House, and then call for the “termination” of the US Constitution.