Sunday, October 25, 2009


- Tamanaha, Brian Z [2005]. On the Rule of Law: History, Politics, Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) [Google Books] [autor].

(Reseña de Mortimer Seller en 'Law and History Review'). Tamanaha identifies three central themes or clusters of meaning among the various conceptions of the rule of law that have emerged over the centuries. First, the state and its officials should be limited by law. Second, "formal legality" should be respected, so that law is public, prospective, general, and obeyed. Third, particular individuals should not have too much discretion to interpret or apply the law: there should be a "government of laws and not of men." The historical rule of law tradition preserves an emphasis on restricting state tyranny that goes beyond making governments respect their own laws and constitution.

Tamanaha's concise overview of the history, politics, and theory of the rule of law confirms the importance of subordinating governments to law and restricting the discretion of those in authority. Judges must be confident and independent enough to defy political pressure, but humble enough to respect the tradition they enforce. Citizens should be subject to the law and justice, not the unpredictable vagaries of other human beings. Tamanaha uses history to show that the rule of law thrives best when lawyers, judges, rulers, and citizens share a culture of deference to law, and law itself seeks justice and the common good. This is an excellent, true, and inspiring book.

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