"In this superb volume, Rajah crafts the best account to date of ways political liberalism can be systematically dismantled in the name of the rule of law. By tracing key moments in Singapore's history since independence, Rajah brilliantly reveals how political discourse and dramatic public performance can be manipulated by an urbane authoritarian state to cow vocal lawyers, to intimidate civil society, and to limit basic legal freedoms. Rajah convinces us that there exists a new form of illiberal political order - the authoritarian rule of law. This theoretically innovative, empirically compelling, and gracefully written book not only speaks eloquently to scholarly audiences, but it has far-reaching consequences for national leaders who seek "third ways" in which economic development is partitioned from political liberalism." - Terence C. Halliday
Research Professor, American Bar Foundation; Co-Director, Center on Law and Globalization, American Bar Foundation and University of Illinois College of Law
"Authoritarian Rule of Law spans the period from colonization to the present, using a series of case studies to provide a sweeping as well as detailed and textured portrait of the rule of law in Singapore. Rajah reveals how the state has adeptly utilized narratives about its common law legal tradition, its vulnerable status (as a multi-ethnic city-state with limited natural resources), and its exceptional economic success, to make strong claims to legitimacy based upon the rule of law. This fascinating book exposes a rarely seen side to the rule of law, acknowledging its benefits while also showing its potential for abuse." - Brian Z. Tamanaha
William Gardiner Hammond Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law
Through a focus on Singapore, this book presents an analysis of authoritarian legalism, showing how prosperity, public discourse, and a rigorous observance of legal procedure enable a reconfigured rule of law - liberal form but illiberal content. It shows how institutions and process become tools to constrain dissenting citizens while protecting those in political power.