George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Sixth Annual Transatlantic Law Forum: The Rule of Law and the Administrative State in Crisis

Event Details

  • Date:
  • Venue: George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School
  • Division: The Henry G. Manne Program in Law & Economics Studies

Co-Sponsored by the Federalist Society. 

Program Description:  Liberal democracies expect that public administration and government regulation will conform to rule-of-law norms and values, including legality, regularity, predictability, transparency, and accountability. Of late, and especially in the wake of an international fiscal and financial crisis that is well into its fifth year, public institutions that are expected to abide by those standards have come under acute stress and, to many minds, have often failed to live up to reasonable norms of lawful government. In the United States, massive reforms of financial industries and of the health care and insurance sectors have taken the form 1,000-page enactments of highly uncertain content and consequence.  On the other side of the Atlantic, the European Union is attempting to stick-build a “fiscal union” through a series of awkward political bargains, outside and arguably in contravention of the EU’s treaty framework.

What lies behind this outbreak of institutional improvisation, in derogation of rule-of-law forms as they have been traditionally understood? Is it a response to intense but temporary fiscal and political stress, or a “new normal”? Do contemporary democratic demands and perceived imperatives exceed the capacity of administrative agencies and independent institutions within their traditional bounds?

About the Transatlantic Law Forum:  The TLF is a joint venture between the Law & Economics Center at George Mason Law School in Arlington, VA and the Council on Public Policy (CPP) in Bayreuth, Germany. It is co-directed by Michael S. Greve (GMU Law School) and Michael Zöller (President, CPP). The TLF aims to create a transatlantic community of lawyers, judges, policymakers, scholars and journalists with an abiding interest in questions of constitutionalism and constitutional government. To that end, the TLF hosts annual, high-level conferences on political, social and economic issues with salient—though often underestimated—constitutional dimensions.