Chloe HannayJanuary 20,20183305-91ReflectionPaper 2 Rule of Law Awidely accepted definition of the rule of law “is a principle under which allpersons, institutions, and entities are accountable to laws that are: publiclypromulgated, equally enforced, independently adjudicated, and consistent withinternational human rights principles” (Dimunation). To put in simple terms,Rule of Law is the belief that no one person is above the law if those laws areethically and morally just, and capable of being enforced. Rule of law is tiedin with Natural law which is “the unwritten body of universal moral principlesthat underlie the ethical and legal norms by which human conduct is sometimesevaluated and governed” (Stewart). Although, I am in the belief that Naturallaw is widely dependent on society and its impact on human behavior, so to putthings simply, morality is a societal construct. As humans are social creatureswe must have some rules in place to govern how we treat each other, and,natural law is an agreement between people to live in a society that maximizeswellbeing and minimizes illbeing. Rule of law is also largely dependent onwhere you are in the world and the ethical codes of the country.
For example,in Germany during world war two, rule of law was to give up the Jews to betaken to concentration camps although this is clearly in violation of ethicaland moral codes. This also comes into question during the time of slaves in theunited states when slavers could give brutal punishments and other ethicallyincorrect treatment of slaves because under the constitution they were 3/5 of aperson and therefore not allocated the basic human rights available to others.The constitution is the supreme law of the land but can be subject to amendmentsin favor of the majority opinion. Rule of law is also largely dependent on thelaws being publicly promoted and made available to all citizens so that theyare aware what is and isn’t legal to there are no questions of accountability.
Lawsmust be worded carefully as to ensure that offenders of the law can be heldaccountable for breaking them. A law that is vague can be considered null byjudges due to its ability to be used to punish harmless behavior. Laws must beunderstood by the general public and therefore must be written clearly sopeople of ordinary intelligence can infer what behavior is forbidden under law.Also, rule of law is based on the decree that no one is above the law, and wecan see this demonstrated in the Watergate scandal when Nixon tried to use hispresidential privilege to place himself and the executive branch out of reachof the criminal investigation.Non-partisanjudiciary is crucial in order to get fair and lawful rulings in the court.
Non-partisan is based on the rule of law rather than a political advantage andexercises no bias. This way of rulings will ensure that the reasons behind theruling are based on the constitution and the evidence gained in court ratherthan someone high up holding the string and making sure a judge rules in hisfavor. Although to keep all person bias out of the court room is next toimpossible due to the judges having their own inner morals and opinions aboutinterpreting the law in the constitution, and sometimes this makes for bettermore just rulings, but it can also lead to the opposite. Another factor in biasis who elected that judge and whether they were a democrat or a republican and havinga balance of liberal and conservative judges will be able to give the most justrulings. Majority rule is often the bestway to get a just ruling and it is why we use juries in most court cases and ifmost of the jurors find an offender guilty then the ruling stands. However,there are some morally and just foundations that our country was built upon andwere added to the constitution that cannot be changed by a majority vote.
Also,just because a majority agrees on one point does not always mean that the pointis just and if a minority stands against that point it is in the best interest ofthe court to hear both sides fully before accepting any ruling. The Nixon case againis a perfect representation of non-partisan judiciary in action because going againstthe actual president of the country in favor of getting all the evidence possiblefor a criminal trial is thin ice and the fact the judges were able to put asidetheir bias in favor of the constitution is proper justice at work.