IAL Conference on "The Crisis of Confidence in Legislation"

The IAL Annual Conference took place on the 25th October at the Library of the Italian Senate. It was organised by Professors Maria De Benedetto (Roma Tre), Nicola Lupo (LUISS) and Nicoletta Rangone (LUMSA), with the Patronage of the Senato della Repubblica and the European Parliament.

Professor Cary Coglianese, from the University of Pennsylvania, delivered a Keynote Speech. Hereafter the abstract: "Law as a Scapegoat. Populist nationalist movements have been on the rise around the world in recent years. These movements have tapped into, if not also fueled, a deep anger among many members of the public. Especially in the face of stagnant or declining economic prospects—as well as expanding inequality—much anger has been directed at minorities and immigrants. Politicians with authoritarian tendencies have sought to leverage such public anger by reinforcing tendencies to scapegoat others for their society’s problems.  In this lecture, I show that government regulation—just as immigrants—can be framed as “the other” and made a scapegoat too. With reference to contemporary developments in the United States and Europe, I explain why members of the public and politicians have a tendency to blame regulation and regulators for social conditions that drive their anger.  While by no means claiming that regulation is ever perfect, I point to a variety of deeper sources of social and economic ills, explaining why regulation is not always responsible for them nor could its reform serve as any cure-all. I caution about the longer-term harms that may follow from persistent regulatory scapegoating and discuss lawyers’ and legal scholars’ special responsibility both to resist such scapegoating and speak in defense of law in realistic, empirically informed terms"