America's Criminal Justice System: Essential for the Rule of Law



*Please note, this event has now taken place. Please see above for video footage of the event.

In the 2017-2018 WJP Rule of Law Index, the United States ranked 19th out of 113 countries surveyed, slipping a point from its ranking the year before. Notably, the U.S. score for “Constraints on Government Powers” edged downward and low marks for the U.S. criminal justice system persisted. As this news and current events raise concerns about the rule of law in the U.S., the World Justice Project is pleased to join the American Bar Association Division of Public Education and Criminal Justice Section to convene “America’s Criminal Justice System: Essential for the Rule of Law” to explore these trends with a particular focus on implications for the criminal justice system.

The program will begin with a keynote conversation and audience Q&A on the importance of the rule of law with Chuck Rosenberg, Senior Counsel at Crowell & Moring. Rosenberg has previously served as Acting Administrator of the DEA, Chief of Staff to FBI Director James Comey, Senior Counsel to Robert Mueller, and as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Texas.

Following an interactive presentation of the latest findings from the WJP Rule of Law Index, an expert panel will discuss crucial issues at the intersection of rule of law and America’s criminal justice system.


Stephen Saltzburg, Past Chair, ABA Criminal Justice Section; Wallace and Beverley Woodbury University Professor of Law, Co-director of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program, The George Washington University Law School


Alejandro Ponce, Chief Research Officer, World Justice Project
Jeremy Travis, Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice (2004-2016)
Jennifer Vollen-Katz, Executive Director, John Howard Association
Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director, Illinois Humanities

This event is open to the public and attendees of the American Bar Association Annual Meeting, with advance registration.

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The US ranks 26 out of 142 countries and jurisdictions in the 2023 WJP Rule of Law Index

The rule of law has once again eroded in a majority of countries this year, including the United States, according to the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2023. In 2022, following four consecutive years of declining rule of law, the United States was among the top improvers. Last year’s gains were not enough to overcome the long-term decline since 2016, however, and this year U.S. rule of law took a downturn again.

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