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Planet Lex: The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Podcast

Planet Lex is a series of conversations about the law, law and society, law and technology, and the future of legal education and practice. In other words, a bunch of interesting stuff about the law.
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Planet Lex: The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Podcast
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Sep 21, 2016

In this episode of Planet Lex, host Daniel Rodriguez speaks with Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Harry R. Horrow Professor in International Law Juliet Sorensen about the pervasiveness and regulation of corruption. Juliet defines public corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain and discusses the challenges of working within the various parameters of both civil causes of action and criminal law to regulate said corruption. Certain forms of malfeasance, like bribery, have been traditionally governed by criminal law while other forms like patronage and nepotism have been grounds for civil actions under the First Amendment but have generally been found not to be either federal, state, or local crimes. Juliet highlights that in a functioning democracy the safeguard against public officials who the electorate disapproves of is voting them out of office, however if corruption has pervaded a democracy to the extent that voting public officials out of office cannot be done in a free and fair way, then that is an impingement of human rights. She shares that many countries are unable or unwilling to regulate public corruption for a myriad of reasons, including limited resources and weak institutions, and that in some countries the culture of corruption is so pervasive that it becomes incredibly difficult to change. Juliet also analyzes the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to ban Russia from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and discusses how the McLaren Investigation Report on doping in Russia illustrates abuses of all levels of public office but not necessarily for monetary gain. She closes the interview with an investigation of how the emergency reconstruction phase after major extreme weather events can facilitate corruption and how we can combat this. Finally, she considers the severity of public corruption, domestically or internationally, against other major issues of social policy or criminal law enforcement.

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