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Rule of Law

A newly-disabled outlaw and country lawyer in Tennessee lead a class action lawsuit that affects the rights of 55 million people.

A printer-friendly version of this page 47 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Dan Iacovella
Produced by Dan Iacovella, Carolina Fernandez
Written by Dan Iacovella
Narrator: Jamie Leigh Allen
Directors of Photography: Dan Iacovella, Ash Wright
Web Designers: Bill Cusano, Abe Fallon
Editor: Dan Iacovella
Executive Producer: W. Wilder Knight II

"Such an important story of how everyday people can change the world for the better." Christopher H. Knauf, Esq., Civil Rights Attorney
RULE OF LAW shares the story of a newly-disabled outlaw in rural Tennessee whose local court case on minor traffic violations evolves into a landmark class action lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court where the rights of 55 million people and the Americans with Disabilities Act itself are at stake. A lawyer from one of the smallest counties in the country represents the outlaw and takes it to the highest court in the land to debate issues of sovereign immunity and due process.

It reveals how questions of civil rights affecting a broad spectrum of people can arise out of the most unlikely sources, how a good lawyer should never ignore any client and should look for constitutional issues in whatever thorny problems his/her clients have, how slow the legal system is, how unresponsive government lawyers can sometimes be and how anyone, no matter what their history, along with a single small-town lawyer can work together to help millions of people.

Grade Level: 10 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2017     Copyright Date: 2016
DVD ISBN: 1-941545-70-X

"Clear and insightful, the documentary effectively sorts out the issues in Tennessee vs. Lane and explains the workings of the legal system...Highly recommended for academic and public libraries, Rule of Law is a valuable resource for courses in Constitutional law, political science, and sociology."
Douglas Reed, Dept of Political Science, Ouachita Baptist University, Educational Media Review Online

"Compelling...Rule of Law illustrates the human dimensions of the case as well as describing a complex doctrinal case in ways that are understandable to legal experts and novices alike. The links to key documents in the case, as well as related documents and supplemental interviews, make this an important resource for law professors, law students, disability rights advocates, and people with disabilities themselves. It is an invaluable teaching resource."
Robert Dinerstein, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Experiential Education, Director, Disability Rights Law Clinic, American University

"Rule of Law provides a rich and thoughtful portrait of an important case in the disability rights movement. Looking deeply into the human and strategic considerations, it will be of use to students and teachers in a variety of disciplines."
Michael Waterstone, Dean and Senior Vice President, Loyola Law School, Loyola Marymount University

"Excellent film...demonstrates that the ADA remains unfinished business...Rule of Law is educational and inspiring, showing students the role all of us must play in remaining vigilant in our advocacy for equality for persons with disabilities."
Dr. Stephen Meyers, Assistant Professor of Law, Societies, and Justice, University of Washington

"Rule of Law is the story of how a man with one leg and a small town lawyer reminded the American legal system that the most fundamental of all American rights is the right of a person 'to stand up.' While this film provides valuable background on the evolution of a leading civil rights case, it most importantly reminds us that we can only judge a law when we are confronted by its impact on human life."
Greg Randall Lee, Professor of Law, Widener University

"Rule of Law is such an important story of how everyday people can change the world for the better. Watch how one man fights for his legal rights, how the legal system treats him throughout that fight, and how a country lawyer stands by him for years, successfully enforcing the law for the benefit of 50+ million people with disabilities. A must-see for anyone who is a fan - or critic - of American democracy."
Christopher H. Knauf, Esq., Civil rights attorney, Knauf Associates

"Rule of Law preserves the important history of much of Tennessee v. Lane, a watershed case about the fundamental right of access to courts for all Americans. This one-hour documentary will be useful for educators, policy makers, law makers, and anyone interested in the civil rights litigation supporting the Americans with Disabilities Act."
Dr. Ani Satz, Professor of Law, Professor of Public Health, Emory University

"Fair and balanced...This tale of disabled defendant George Lane learning the relationship between justice being delayed and denied both educates and provides ample food for thought."
John Stahl, Unreal TV

"Eye-opening...An effective example of how the judicial system works...A chilling illustration of how ensuring rights for people with disabilities is an ongoing issue."
Kathryn Justus, School Library Journal

"A valuable recounting of an important case, presented with excellent extras...Recommended."
P. Hall, Video Librarian

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DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
Multiple resources for a complete study of the case and its context:
* Watch: 2˝ hours of extended interviews
* Listen: Two MP3 audio files of the Supreme Court's Hearing and Opinion in Tennessee v. Lane
* Read: Legal documents related to the case in PDF format
* Web links (see below under Links)
The video extras are accessible through the scene selection menus and the other documents and audio are accessible via the DVD-ROM portion of the disc.
Also includes SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and scene selection.

Useful web links

American Democracy
American Studies
Citizenship and Civics
Civil Rights
Constitutional Law
Disability Rights
Human Rights

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... more Reviews

"Rule of Law provides insight into how the judicial system understands the concept of access to medical services, particularly for people with disabilities...Reminds viewers of how only through the enforcement of laws and other legal means will people with disabilities achieve the equal status they justly deserve."
Dr. Craig Meyer, Texas AandM University-Kingsville, The Pharos

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