Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rule of Law

I have an entire lecture on this and I may make it available for those who want to read further but for now, let me explain what "The Rule of Law" means.

The LAW is a result of a deliberative process by an authorized body. Because that body is authorized by "The People" through a democratic (participatory) process which grants authority to REPRESENTATIVES (that is what is meant by a "Republican" form of government, guaranteed by our Constitution), the LAW is PRESUMPTIVELY a reflection of , and a codification of our morals. The LAW either prohibits, or requires, certain behavior that is consistent with those morals. (See my earlier post about morals being derived from historic Christianity). The LAW is presumptively valid. That means that we can PRESUME that the law is good (moral), unless there is evidence to the contrary. Behavior (in our Constitutional Republic) is regulated through DUE PROCESS, which consists of investigation, apprehension, judgment (trial by bench or jury) and retribution (punishment, etc.). The LAW is divided into two categories: Civil law, and Criminal law. Criminal law is further divided into two categories, Mala en Se (something that is intrinsically evil, and therefore prohibited) and Mala Prohibita (something it is prohibited because it is deemed undesirable- NOT because it is inherently evil. i.e jaywalking, spitting on the sidewalk, etc.). The law is uniform, fair, and KNOWN (we are all given NOTICE of the law)

The Rule of Law requires that EVERYBODY be subject to the law, regardless of estate (social position). Elected officers, even judges, are BOUND by their oath of office to comply with the law. Failure to comply is breach of a public trust and public duty, and is impeachable. It is the DUTY of elected officials to police each other in order to protect the system. (how's THAT working for us?)


The Rule of Law is at the heart of our system of self-governance. Ours is a Federal, Constitutional, Democratic, Republican form of government. IT IS NOT a "democracy" however democratic process allow for a degree of self-governance. Our government is "federal" in the sense that there is a "head" or central governmental function that has some control over the subordinate parts. HOWEVER, all of the parts of government, including ESPECIALLY the federal head, are SUBJECT to the constitution. That means, we, the people (the source of authority for the government), are ALSO SUBJECT to the constraints of the constitution! We are not FREE to demand of government ANYTHING that is not granted TO the government expressly by our written constitution, or implied by the express language therein. Likewise, the elected officials that carry out the duties of their offices, are constrained in the same way. We are ALL SUBJECT to the RULE OF LAW and the United States Constitution IS the SUPREME law of the land!

When any of us, elected officials or ordinary citizens do not know (or else we DO KNOW, but DISREGARD) the Rule of Law, we become a nation of lawbreakers. Then, the "law" becomes whatever the government SAYS it is, and TRYANNY becomes the rule of the day!

John A. Sterling

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