Amongst informed users there is no difference in the two points above. However, to most people “Rule of Law” has come to mean enforcing blindly some statute on the books. “Rule of Law” actually carries no such meaning.
Martin Luther King had to warn listeners “Remember, everything they did in Nazi Germany was legal.”
He was truly speaking to those who take the “Rule of Law” as meaning justifying anything authority does. It is one of the worst perversions of the intended meaning. If “Rule of Law” meant what most people think it means, then indeed the Nazis could do no wrong.
But “Rule of Law” actually means following the principles of law. Technically, some may not sound like law but they are rigorously enforced in the legal system of a civilized society. Their purpose is to ensure justice.
One such principle applies to the above example of Nazi Germany. While being tried in the docks at Nuremburg, Alfred Rosenberg was stupid enough to admit what they had done, but he added (and then showed them) where they had made it legal. The Lord Justice presiding reminded him of the principle: “You cannot plead as justification for your behavior laws which you yourself have made.” And they hung him.
Common sense really.
Most of the principles, if not all, are dependent on logic with the purpose of facilitating justice.
The Rules of Circumstantial Evidence are a case in point. “You can only make one inference from a set of circumstances that can be established as fact.”
Another: “Innocent until proven guilty.”
Another that has sadly been set aside. “The right to face your accuser.” People don’t like being accused. It is human nature. People don’t like being falsely accused even more. Someone might be a little more careful in accusing someone rashly if they knew they had to face the one they accused.
The ability for an attorney to object in court is actually limited to anything that is irrelevant or introduced improperly.
In your day to day life common sense, embodied in all of the above (only a small sampling of the principles of law), is supposed to dictate your behavior. All of the above are really just common sense. None, however, are truly laws that bind your daily actions, are they? The difference with law is that these principles are enforced in court.
You always want the “rule of the principles of law.”
The principles above are largely for processing. Constitutions, on the other hand, are another form of how principles are put in place that limit the creation of statutory laws.
Most perversion of justice is actually not found in bad statutory laws. It is perverting the application of the “rule of law.”
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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.