Law As a Crisis for the Rule of Law: A Speculative Essay

17 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2017 Last revised: 8 Dec 2017

Date Written: August 30, 2017


This brief essay, for a collection edited by Carolina Deik, “Crisis of the Rule of Law,” to be published in Colombia, describes some ways in which too much law can be as problematic as too little law. After noting that law’s complexity can introduce some of the arbitrariness that the rule of law seeks to overcome, the essay uses the example of anti-corruption law to suggest how enforcing the law at the retail level might weaken the overall system of the rule of law by eroding public confidence in public institutions, and, sometimes, by weakening those institutions themselves.

Keywords: rule of law, corruption

Suggested Citation

Tushnet, Mark V., Law As a Crisis for the Rule of Law: A Speculative Essay (August 30, 2017). Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 17-45, Available at SSRN: or

Mark V. Tushnet (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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