Rule of Law

Rule of Law

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.

'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


Main credits

Iacovella, Dan (film director)
Iacovella, Dan (film producer)
Iacovella, Dan (screenwriter)
Allen, Jamie Leigh (narrator)

Other credits

Directors of photography: Dan Iacovella & Ash Wright; editor: Dan Iacovella.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

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


disabled outlaw, Tennessee, class action lawsuit, landmark case, Tennessee v. Lane, George Lane, Beverly Jones, small-town lawyer, William J Brown, Martha Lafferty, ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, sovereign immunity, due process, civil rights; "Rule of Law"; Bullfrog Films