July 1, 2015

The Rule of Law and the Magna Carta

Critics of assumptions that we live under the rule of law have come into fashion suddenly, with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta this month. Nicholas Vincent of the University of East Anglia called the myth of “an English-speaking people, freedom-loving people who’ve lived with a degree of liberty and under a rule of law for 800 years “a load of tripe,” among other pungent criticisms. But where were these commentators when the British and the U.S. unloaded the weapons of rendition on detainees in the War on Terror or detention without trial on immigrants? Why is this discussion of the history of the rule of law occurring with little or no reference to the current crisis of the rule of law?