The Rule of Law: 4 Key Principles
In this episode Brian MacKenzie, a retired judge from Michigan, discusses the importance of the “Rule of Law” in the context of the efforts by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Four Key Principles for the Rule of Law
The rule of law is based upon four principles:
- The government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law;
- The laws are clear, publicized, stable, fair, and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property;
- The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient;
- Access to justice is provided by competent, independent, and ethical adjudicators, attorneys or representatives, and judicial officers who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.
By her actions Ms. Davis rejects these principles, asserting a new form of constitutional right that is applicable only to government officials. The application of this right is based upon her personal beliefs and allows her to make governmental decisions that apply to her office and any citizen served by her office. In effect, Ms. Davis claims that this new right allows her to engage in what otherwise would be unconstitutional governmental discrimination.
Undermining Those Principles
In a democracy, an elected official’s personal beliefs can only be given expression when they do not conflict with the official requirements of the office that they hold in trust from the people who elected to them to that office. The stance by Ms. Davis and her supporters fundamentally undermines this principle and the modern rule of law that forms the basis for the United States of America.
Beavers Need an Application to Build a Dam?
In addition this episode starts will be a new tradition for Justice Speaks a look at unusual laws. In this episode Judge MacKenzie discusses the need for beavers to file an application to build a dam in the state of Michigan.