Rule of Law

Constitutional Principles Project

By: Ajla, Aldina, Munir & Kevin

What Does Rule of Law Mean?

The Rule of Law can mean many things, such as, no individual can be ordered by the government to pay civil damages or suffer criminal punishment except in strict accordance with well-established and clearly defined laws and procedures, but it can also mean that no branch of government is above the law, and no public official may act arbitrarily or unilaterally outside the law.

When & Where?

The phrase can be traced back to 16th century England, and it was popularized in the 19th century by British Jurist A. V. Dicey.

What's the Point?

Significance :

  • The Rule Of Law is important because without it we would achieve absolute freedom and this could cause chaos would occur.

The rule of law is fundamental to achieving a durable peace in the aftermath of conflict, to the effective protection of human rights, and to sustained economic progress and development. The principle that everyone – from the individual right up to the State itself – is accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated

Tie of Enlightenment Philosopher & Influential Documents

John Adams described the commitment to the rule of law when he enshrined Separation of Power in the Massachusetts constitution “to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.”

Rule of Law is stated in about every document in U.S History (Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc.)

Excerpts from the Constitution:

  • The president, vice-president and all civil officers can be impeached by the people for conviction of: treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

  • The government can not house troops in your home involuntarily or search your home without warrant. (more towards the past)

  • Amendment I - The government cannot pass laws promoting a certain religion or forbidding you from practicing your religion freely. People have the right to a peaceful protest and the right to publish thoughts publicly.

Examples: Past & Present

- Rule of law is used today is when the protesters in Ferguson protest even though they have the right to voice their opinion they still can't vandalize because that is the law and they are not above the law.

- Rule of law was used in the past when King George passed the stamp act and even though the American's did not like they still had to follow it because it was the law and they were not above it.