TED2010

Four ways to fix a broken legal system: Philip K. Howard on TED.com

Posted by: Emily McManus

The land of the free has become a legal minefield, says Philip K. Howard — especially for teachers and doctors, whose work has been paralyzed by fear of suits. What’s the answer? A lawyer himself, Howard has four propositions for simplifying US law. (Recorded at TED2010, February 2010, in Long Beach, CA. Duration: 18:22)

Watch Philip K. Howard’s talk from TED2010 on TED.com, where you can download this TEDTalk, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 600+ TEDTalks.

Comments (4)

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  • Mark Sherman commented on Feb 23 2010

    Although I don’t disagree with Howard’s bottom line, the way he gets there and his “solutions” are so simplistic and full of references that only serve to support his conservative ideological perspective. Example: He says the Constitution has worked well for 200+ years. Wrong. The document has been amended multiple times and, on top of that, interpreted by the federal courts. So, his remark about it working well, as if it’s a static document, is disingenuous. Another comment that I thought really gave insight into Howard’s own values and ideology was the reference to the ’60s as the period in which we discovered bad values and that ultimately, the lesson of the ’60s for the law is that no one is allowed to have bad values anymore. His conservative message is quite clear: Liberals and minorities are to blame for this mess by using the legal system to vindicate their rights because the political process failed them. Silly me: I thought that was why we had a legal system.

  • Honor Martinez commented on Feb 22 2010

    I agree, we have become enamored by the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law. How much of this is a result of the high density of lawyers in congress, each wanting to be sure that every letter is addressed thus taking authority away from the common person.