Measuring the rule of law and where the US stacks up

A report from the World Justice Project analyzes how the rule of law impacts democracies across the world. The U.S. ranks 26th on a global list, and saw its overall score drop from the year prior.
Posted at 6:03 PM, Jul 02, 2024

From the economy and crime to reproductive rights and climate change, Scripps News is digging deep this month into the issues that really matter to voters leading up to the summer's presidential nominating conventions. This week we focus on the future of democracy.

A report from the World Justice Project analyzes how the rule of law impacts democracy in countries across the world. In its 2023 report, it found "a majority of countries continue to experience rule of law backsliding characterized by executive overreach, diminished human rights and justice systems that are failing to meet people's needs."

The U.S. ranks 26th on the global list, and saw its overall score drop just a bit from the year prior.

The report notes it's hard to define what the rule of law really means, so it measures that based on four principles: Accountability, just law, open government and accessible and impartial justice.

For many Americans, the workings of the justice system are once again top of mind: On Monday the Supreme Court ruled former presidents enjoy broad immunity from criminal prosecutions for official acts while they were in office. The ruling likely means former President Trump will not be tried before November's election in a case that accuses him of plotting to overturn the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is responding to controversial posts by former President Donald Trump that said former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney is guilty of treason and should go before a military tribunal.

A campaign spokesman told CNN that the House January 6th Committee carried out a "political persecution" against the former President.

To understand how these new developments affect the perception and measurement of the rule of law, Scripps News speaks with Elizabeth Andersen, executive director of the World Justice Project.

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