Paul GowderFeb 2, 2022
The Rule of Law in the United States
An Unfinished Project of Black Liberation
Hart Publishing 2021
In The Rule of Law in the United States: An Unfinished Project of Black Liberation (Hart, 2021), Dr. Paul Gowder focuses on examining the ideals of the American rule of law by asking: how do we interpret its history and the goals of its constitutional framers to see the rule of law ambitions its foundational institutions express? The book considers those constitutional institutions as inextricable from the problem of race in the United States and the tensions between the rule of law as a protector of property rights and the rule of law as a restrictor on arbitrary power and a guarantor of legal equality. In that context, it explores the distinctive role of Black liberation movements in developing the American rule of law. Finally, it considers the extent to which the American rule of law is compromised at its frontiers, and the extent that those compromises undermine legal protections Americans enjoy in the interior. It asks how America reflects the legal contradictions of capitalism and empire outside its borders, and the impact of those contradictions on its external goals.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.