“The Unprecedented Crisis” in Law

“The Unprecedented Crisis” in LawThe state of law today gives testimony to a general disregard for many of its basic precepts. This can be seen in the case of governors and attorney generals who refused to enforce laws as in the case of same-sex “marriage.” There are activist judges who strike down laws based upon spurious reasoning and faulty precedence. There are executive officeholders who change the law arbitrarily without the consent of legislators.

Such a situation recalls the prescient words of legal historian Harold Berman who said in 1983 that “we are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis of legal values and of legalFree Subscription thought, in which our entire legal tradition is being challenged—not only the so-called liberal concepts of the past few hundred years, but the very structure of Western legality, which dates from the eleventh and twelfth centuries” (Harold J. Berman, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1983, p. 33).