What Is the “Rule of Law?”

What Is the

(RepublicanReport.com) – In a healthy society, people work together for the greater good of all. Relying on people to do so of their own free will and intention is rarely enough, however. There will always be people out there who are corrupt, abusive, violent, or even power-hungry — even within the very government that’s supposed to serve us. That’s where the rule of law comes in.

About the Rule of Law

“Rule of law” is an ancient philosophy first outlined by Aristotle in ancient Rome. It purports that all people and entities, including the government, must be bound to the same system of laws and regulations. This prevents rulers from abusing their powers or engaging in tyranny while also setting guidelines under which all people pursue happiness without harming others.

This does not necessarily mean that all governments who adopt the rule of law are forced to follow the same exact system. For example, both Canada and the US believe in the rule of law, but the justice system adopted by each contains very different laws. The term “rule of law” is more about the government and the people agreeing to the same system as a whole.

Four Core Principles

The World Justice Project states that any system adhering to the rule of law should contain four core principles to ensure fairness for everyone involved:

  • Accountability. The law must hold accountable both the government and the people it governs at all times. No one is above the law.
  • Just laws. The laws within a system must be clear, easy to understand, and applied evenly right across the board. They must also protect human rights and the peoples’ safety as a whole.
  • Open government.  All governed people and entities must have easy access to the legal system of creating, approving and enforcing laws.
  • Access to Justice. The justice system must be accessible to the people, who retain the right to seek remedies via it at all times. Justice should be available in a timely manner. The government must not enact laws that create hurdles for minorities or make processes so expensive, certain socio-economic groups lose the ability to engage with it due to affordability concerns. The system should also provide easy access to legal aid, advice, and information.

The core goal of these principles is the same: create a system of laws that treats all persons fairly, regardless of background, class, color, or role in society. This is an integral element of freedom in any country, but is especially important here in the United States.

The Rule of Law in the United States

The Constitution serves as the foundation for the rule of law in American justice. It establishes a system of rights, freedoms, and checks and balances that ensure a fair and just society for all without government overreach and tyranny. This includes separation of power between three distinct branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial).

Ultimately, no person, whether individual or policymaker, has the right to subvert the rule of law. Amendments are possible if and when societal shifts make them necessary, but the process is challenging for a reason. Not only does it prevent rulers from changing the law to suit their needs, but it also helps to maintain a more stable government and freedom for all Americans.

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