Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Implementing the Rule of Law: The Role of Citizen-Plaintiffs

13 The Good Society (Fall 2004)

10 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2013  

Lynda G. Dodd

The City University of New York (CUNY) - City College

Date Written: March 4, 2013

Abstract

This essay seeks to shift the focus away from the traditional emphasis on theories of judicial decision making and the role of judicial review, in order to highlight another mechanism for implementing the rule of law: citizen lawsuits against the state. To an extent that is unprecedented in our history, citizens interact more often with, and depend more upon, government officials. Constitutional harms are inflicted every day by government officials misusing the authority granted to them under legislation that is itself constitutional. Judicial review as a mechanism for securing constitutional rights is irrelevant in such cases. Allowing citizen plaintiffs to sue the government when it abuses its authority has become an indispensable element of constitutionalism, and an essential method of implementing the rule of law. But it is also a method that has generated much criticism. In what follows, I describe the growth of opposition to citizen suits against the state, and explain why these developments are so troubling.

Keywords: Section 1983, rule of law, constitutionalism, litigation

JEL Classification: K39

Suggested Citation

Dodd, Lynda G., Implementing the Rule of Law: The Role of Citizen-Plaintiffs (March 4, 2013). 13 The Good Society (Fall 2004) . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2228020

Lynda G. Dodd (Contact Author)

The City University of New York (CUNY) - City College ( email )

Paper statistics

Downloads
69
Rank
282,285
Abstract Views
119