This Article discusses Ivan Illich’s direction for social reform that led to his book, Tools for Conviviality, where Illich targeted development, technology, and the exploitation of nature. Illich identified three key cultural institutions that needed to be reclaimed in order to bring about an inversion of industrial society: science, language, and law. This Article focuses on the rule of law and its central institutional invention—formal adjudication.

The Author suggests that Illich’s idealism can still be found in the law reform litigation effort and identifies the diminished stature of the ideal of disinterested adjudication as a significant threat to Illich’s hopes for the transformative potential of the rule of law. The Author agrees with Illich’s belief that no issue of legal doctrine and, therefore, of social and political structure, could ever be permanently settled and wonders how Illich would view the Court’s resolution of the Affordable Care Act litigation.