Rule of Law

To the Editor,

We have to look at our leaders from the President on down, will they conform to the Rule of Law?
The rule of law is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “The authority and influence of law in
society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior; (hence) the
principle whereby all members of a society (including those in government) are considered equally
subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes.” The phrase “the rule of law” refers to a political
situation, not to any specific legal rule. Wikipedia
Upon taking office, a President solemnly swore to “faithfully execute the Office of President …” and “to
the best of [his] ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” And under
Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, a President is legally obligated to “take care that the laws
faithfully executed…” Not make up his/her laws to suit the situation.
Ours is a nation of laws, with an executive branch of significant but distinctly limited powers. This has
been the foundation of our democratic system of checks and balances since the Founders rejected a
proposal for a quasi-monarchical lifetime presidency. The idea that a President can do no wrong and is
answerable to no one is contrary to our national heritage and laws. We are all bound by the law. Those
who subvert the rule of law must be held accountable, including the President. “Shall any man be above
justice?” George Mason asked in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention. “Above all, shall that man be
above it, who can commit the most extensive injustice?” “This interference includes, among other things,
pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals. The
President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr
appears to be involved as well.” Author unknown
The American Bar Association states: International standards recognize access to justice as both a
basic human right and a means to protect other universally recognized human rights. Too often, even
when rights exist on paper, enforcement of these standards is weak. Where human rights protections
are lacking, marginalized groups are often vulnerable to abuses and face significant challenges in
realizing their rights, including within the formal justice system. M. Buchanan commented, “Both the
summary of the Trump-Zelensky call and the allegations in the whistleblower complaint, however, make
it clear that Trump’s actions are in direct conflict with core tenets of American law.” “The Justice
Department signed off on the call, finding no illegality. That makes Attorney General William P. Barr a
key witness, and if he participated, a potential target of impeachment.” wrote J. Rubin
Robert Gordon, Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal Studies at Yale, “spoke on the role of
lawyers in producing the rule of law both abroad and in the United States. Lawyers, he said, feel that
they are necessary for the rule of law. A free practicing bar is thought to be necessary for liberty, justice,
and the protection of rights, and they see the role of lawyers as being significant in establishing a
functioning judiciary and creating and upholding constitutional procedures to protect individual rights in
countries which have struggled to achieve democracy.”
Government officials are limited and held accountable under the law. They do not operate in a system
that separates power. The government must exercise a check and balance of the officials we elect to


Norman Halls

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