The rule of law isn't just for lawyers. That seems to be the theme for a World Justice Forum announced by the American Bar Association today, set for Vienna, Austria from July 2 to 5. Leaders of the business sector, government, nonprofits as well as lawyers from 80 countries will converge on Vienna to find ways of spurring the growth of stable institutions and the rule of law worldwide which in turn will foster economic growth, public health and environmental protections and reduce corruption and human rights violations. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy are confirmed as participants, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor are also listed as honorary chairs and may attend. Four former secretaries of state are also honorary chairs.
ABA President William Neukom is the driving force behind the invitation-only summit, which represents the next step in his global justice initiative. His "Rule of Law Index" will also be unveiled in Vienna. Using more than 100 factors and measures, the index will identify nations where justice reforms are needed.
"The absence of the rule of law consigns billions of people well over half the world to lives characterized by corruption, violence, poverty, sickness and ignorance," Neukom said in a statement. By the way Neukom, the former general counsel to Microsoft, is heading in a new direction after his presidency is over in August: he will become the managing general partner of the San Francisco Giants.