Donald Trump is the first former president in history to face criminal charges. Penn Today spoke with CERL’s Prof. Claire Finkelstein about how this case is a test of America’s democratic institutions and the rule of law. According to Prof. Finkelstein:
The indictment of Donald Trump shows us how important it is for the public to have faith in the federal, state, and local systems of justice. It is critically important that this process play out in the way that criminal trials ordinarily do. There are reasons to be skeptical of certain aspects of our justice system for sure. There is a long history of racial prejudice in the criminal justice system, one that has been documented through numerous studies, court decisions, and the long, lived experience of those who have been victimized by the injection of racial politics into an adversarial system of justice. But a white, wealthy, and famous defendant such as Donald Trump is not likely to be treated unjustly in the administration of justice.
Claire Finkelstein is Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. She is founder and faculty director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL), a non-partisan interdisciplinary institute affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC). She is a distinguished research fellow at APPC and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI). Her current research addresses national security law and policy, democratic governance, and professional ethics. Read her bio here.