From Legal Scholarship to Legal Advocacy: The Evolving Role of the American Law Institute in State Court Jurisprudence


Several years ago, the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) began

Several years ago, the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) began to take note of a disturbing new trend; the once-esteemed American Law Institute (ALI) was evolving its role. No longer was it content to serve as an educational resource to state courts and the legal profession—rather it has begun to move into a new advocacy role outlining what the law should become.

This short paper outlines and highlights the adverse impact of this new ALI role on state court jurisprudence. The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia noted that the authors of the ALI’s flagship publications – its restatements – have, “abandoned the mission of describing the law and have chosen instead to set forth their aspirations for what the law ought to be.”

Here we outline the ALI’s agenda and highlight how the ALI’s new advocacy agenda threatens ATRA’s goal of a fair, equitable and predictable civil justice system.

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