Monday, September 2, 2013

Maxeiner on Adams, Jefferson and "a Government of Laws"

James R. Maxeiner, University of Baltimore School of Law, has posted Building a Government of Laws: Adams and Jefferson 1776-1779, which is part of the symposium, “Legal Doctrines of the Rule of Law and of the Legal State,” to appear in Ius Gentium (2013).  Here is the abstract:    
Critics call for rethinking the rule of law. American laws are either too specific or are too readily ignored by judges. The American rule of law, by largely ignoring statute law and focusing on judge-made law and asserting judicial supremacy over statutes, undermines good government. This article contends that the "government of laws, not of men" of John Adams and the complete revision (Revisal) of Virginia laws made by Thomas Jefferson show these two founders thought of law in statute law terms closer to the ideas of a legal state than to the common law rule of law.