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April 2014

Professor Anthony Colangelo has been awarded a prestigious Ford Research Fellowship. The Fellowship was established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford to foster, reward, and fund outstanding research scholars.
Prof. Colangelo’s project, tentatively entitled “Jurisdiction and the Rule of Law in Multistate Systems,” seeks to demonstrate how multijurisdictional systems are putting pressure on traditional rule-of-law criteria held dear in single-sovereign systems. The project will start by explaining that at the heart of every rule-of-law criterion tends to be the basic requirement that human actors can fairly comply with the law. This requirement not only ensures that the law meets some minimum threshold of fairness to individuals, but also undergirds the stability and efficacy of law itself. That is, the less people are able to comply with the law, the less effective the law is. Imagine for example a contradictory law commanding people to sit and stand at the same time: not only would that law never be obeyed, its very existence would undermine the idea of “law”. Yet this sort of thing happens with increasing frequency in the current international, multistate system of concurrent regulatory regimes. Prof. Colangelo will explore how rule-of-law criteria migrate and adapt to the multistate international legal system and will aim to discern rules that will help the system broadly conform to the rule of law going forward. Through a multi-angled approach that integrates jurisprudence or philosophy of law, as well as both public and private international law, and the practical intricacies of procedure, he hopes to bring a degree of systematic coherence to the rule of law in multistate systems that practitioners, scholars, and judges may use as a focal point of reference going forward.