In America the idea of equal justice for all, including the rich and poor, the famous and the infamous, the popular and the dufus; people of all colors, religions, ethnicities, all deserve to have an equal day in court under the renowned Rule of Law. If ones’ skin color, the depth of their pockets or political positions becomes a matter for the court to consider, is this not a giant step backwards to the “unblinded” Lady Justice of the 15th century? (Are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, again?)
The Rule of Law takes a back seat to The Rule of Man: and this is not simply a talking point. The Rule of Law has to do with precedence for consistency and predictability, a base set of principles for harmony that protect accepted societal (moral) norms, and regulations that LIMIT arbitrary and abusive use of government authority.
Most countries have their own set of codes and principles that conform to their specific accepted cultural norms, generally known as their Rule of Law, and there isn’t one hard definition that fits globally (although the World Bank and other international organizations have universal definitions). However, notice of the Law must be made known publicly, it must be applied equally (blind to extraneous circumstances), must be applied through time (precedent), and avoid being in conflict with itself (such as- is the murder of a pregnant woman one or two murders in light of abortion rules?).
For America, The Rule of Law use to include the principles of Judeo-Christian values (Ten Commandments) combined with self-evident tenets extracted from the Magna Carta, the renowned concepts of habeas corpus and the then-accepted common/natural law themes. As time passed, the concepts expressed in Governor Bradford’s Manuscript, The Virginia Bill of Rights, our Declaration of Independence, etc., slowly found their way into the mix. Then comes our Constitution, as well as its attached Preamble and the clarifying Bill of Rights. All of this, blended with distinctive and careful prudence, makes up our Rule of Law.
But without equal justice being metered out equally can we still call it justice? If we insert faddish social desires can we call it a Rule? If one’s color becomes an issue, can it then still be consistent? I believe there are Truths of morality that cannot be compromised and certainly do not change as we continue to create new gadgetry: if we figure a way to move faster, the laws of momentum and gravity and aerodynamics still stay the same; light, however bright it gets, still does not bend; and the frailty of physical life remains constant in spite of medical advancements. Physics is today what it was 1000 years ago and as it shall be 1000 years from now. Truth yesterday shall be Truth tomorrow.
If we do not accept this now, then all that’s left is the flighty use of the moment to determine what justice is in that moment. Feelings and special desires become inserted, corrupting the strength and durability, destroying the necessary elements of consistency and predictability, thus, the unpublishable, unnoticeable, everchangeable, Rule of Man.
Socialized democracy requires the Rule of Man, while our constitutional republic can only survive with the Rule of Law.
This is the choice we face today and I hope you are paying attention.
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