From the Publisher: Making the Case for the Rule of Law

by David F. Levi

Summer 2018 | Volume 102 Number 2 | Download PDF Version of Article
David F. Levi

We received news of Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s retirement as we prepared this edition of Judicature for printing. We look forward to paying tribute to him in a later edition of this journal.

Justice Kennedy came to Duke Law School in 2008 to dedicate our remodeled law library and our beautiful atrium, the Star Commons. He offered his reflections about the symbolism of the moment. These buildings, he said, were edifices for “the exploration and evolution of the rule of law” — a crucial part of the maintenance of justice around the world. “We still must make the case for the rule of law, and we still must remember that our freedom and our security consist of the world of ideas.”

He elaborated on this theme of ideas, developed through study, and then action or inter-action, developed through discussion: “[Students] go to the library and they begin to study, and we hope they encounter what Holmes called ‘the secret joy of isolated thought,’” he said. “In the commons, the students discuss the ideas of the law, the concept of justice, the meaning of freedom, with students from other disciplines, other backgrounds, from other countries. And, so it goes — from library to commons.”

Our new Bolch Judicial Institute seeks to do much of what Justice Kennedy so eloquently discussed. We aim to “make the case for the rule of law.” Our Institute is dedicated to preserving and advancing the rule of law, here in the United States and around the world. We will do this through research and scholarship — ideas — and through discussion, debate, and on-the-ground projects — action and interaction. We are working now to translate our vision into concrete plans and goals. I welcome your thoughts as we begin this important work.

David F. Levi signature

David F. Levi
Director, Bolch Judicial Institute

About David F. Levi

David F. Levi is the Levi Family Professor of Law and Judicial Studies and Director of the Bolch Judicial Institute. He served as the James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law from 2007 to 2018. He previously was Chief United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California, with chambers in Sacramento. He has served as chair of two Judicial Conference committees by appointment of the Chief Justice. He was chair of the Civil Rules Advisory Committee (2000-2003) and chair of the Standing Committee on the Rules of Practice and Procedure (2003-2007); he was reappointed to serve as a member of that committee (2009-2015). In 2014, he was appointed chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the American Judicial System, and in 2015, he was named co-chair of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice. He also is a member of the ALI Council and was an advisor to the ALI’s Federal Judicial Code Revision and Aggregate Litigation projects.He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves as president of the American Law Institute (ALI).