January 8, 2021
Dear ALSB Members,
Speaking at the laying of the cornerstone of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1932, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes said, “the Republic endures and this is the symbol of its faith.” He wasn’t talking about the building itself, but rather the way the building stood as a testament to the rule of law as an ideal that enables “peaceful, just, and inclusive societies” (U.N., Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). The Supreme Court building, the White House, and the Capitol are important as physical symbols of democratic values, and Americans are rightfully proud of their strength and integrity.
The Capitol building was stormed this week by an armed mob for the first time since 1814. The rule of law seemed to have disappeared from focus for too many of our nation’s leaders and citizens. There was much that was painfully wrong about the images we saw, not least the way they conjured memories of more violent enforcement responses when diverse and peaceful crowds gathered in Washington this summer to support Black lives and condemn white supremacy and police brutality.
As we said this summer in the midst of pain, suffering, and deterioration of the common peace, we encourage members of the Academy to claim and live into the full potential of our role as teachers, modeling civil discourse and civic engagement. As business law professors, we have unique opportunities to trumpet the sacrosanct nature of the rule of law and to instill a commitment to that rule—and to civil discourse founded upon it—in society’s future leaders. Business leaders speak with powerful voices in the American public square, and we have the chance to show them how to lift those voices with nobility and great effect.
Helping students and neighbors to find the challenge and opportunity of the American journey is an awesome responsibility, and we are humbled to share it with you, never more than today. Our challenge is surmountable because of the support of colleagues, the rich resources of our history and laws, and a persistent kernel of hope: cracks in the foundation of the rule of law are not fatal if we take the opportunity to repair and strengthen our democracy. We hope that all of you have access to the support and resources you need at this time. If there is anything we can do to support you, please let us know.
The Executive Committee of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business
Robert Bird, President
Jamie Prenkert, President-Elect
Matthew Phillips, Vice President
Leigh Anenson, Secretary-Treasurer
Eric Yordy, Past President
Linda Christiansen, Chief Accounting Officer
Daniel Herron, Executive Secretary
Terence Lau, Editor-in-Chief, Am. Bus. L.J.
Janine Hiller, AACSB Int’l Liaison
Carolyn Plump, Editor-in-Chief, J. Legal Stud. Educ.