Atlantic Beach, N.C.
Dec. 18, 2021
TO THE EDITOR:
The “Rule of Law” is a term that is often used but difficult to define. It seems the Rule of Law is more of an idea, doctrine, principle, guide, or belief that we strive to achieve. Arbitrary rules have increasingly become the norm in our present-day society.
The Rule of Law is used to voice or express that no one is above the law and no one is beneath it, and everyone is treated the same under the law. But, today, we live in dangerous times, and one must wonder what state of order or events conform to the law.
The US Federal Court System states: the Rule of Law is a principle under which all persons, institutions, and entities are accountable to laws that are: publicly communicated, equally enforced, independently examined, and consistent with human rights principles. Simply put, the Rule of Law applies to everyone, is not arbitrary, is implemented fairly, with a fair justice system.
Saying that all laws apply equally to all people all the time doesn't, by itself, make all laws just. Unfortunately, the Rule of Law can often refer to how one reacts to a political situation rather than any specific legal rule.
Once guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, civil liberties are now conditional; they are regularly disregarded to pursue a specific end. The Rule of Law is one of the essential principles that form the basis for our Constitution to ensure equal protection under the law and help to limit governmental power over citizens.
The War on Terror set the scene where the government gave itself the power to do anything it needed to keep the country secure. As long as the state’s violations against our inalienable rights were done in the name of national security, it is considered just.
The Constitution, amendments, judicial decisions, treaties, and laws passed by congress together form the “rule of law.” However, many factors have eroded the Rule of Law in recent history, including government secrecy, use of force by law enforcement, rioting, burning, shootings, smash and grabbing, catch and release, and mob violence of any kind.
With the washing away of the Rule of Law, citizens live in an era similar to that which existed during America’s founding days when there was no proper framework for government accountability. Without such limitations on power, laws may be used as tools for punishing specific individuals or groups.
Thomas Jefferson expressed a similar sentiment during the time of America’s founding, saying: The two enemies of the people are criminals and the government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.
So while governments may always be looking for ways to breach the Rule of Law, it is essential that as individuals, we remember to keep them accountable as much as is humanly possible.
A breakdown in the Rule of Law leaves devastating consequences to our nation. Our government simply does not enforce law and order, and as a result, criminality, corruption, bribery, thuggery, and lawlessness are widespread, especially in DC.
“For any young democracy, the most difficult but important step is burying the legacy of tyranny and establishing an economy and a government and institutions that abide by the Rule of Law. Every country faces challenges to the Rule of Law, including my own.” – Joe Biden.