What Is the Rule of Law?


The Rule of Law is a set of rules that govern behavior and can be enforced by social institutions or governments. Though the precise definition is subject to debate, law has been described as a science and an art. It requires the exercise of power within a framework of established public norms and precedents. It is a fundamental political concept in many countries and has been deemed to be a necessary element of democratic governance.

The Rule of Law is a working political idea

The Rule of Law is a working political concept, which is the property of ordinary citizens, lawyers, activists, philosophers, and politicians. It is an idea that a government should have in order to effectively protect the rights of individuals and the environment, and to keep corruption low. In addition, it makes it easier for businesses to operate responsibly and adhere to their legal obligations and rights. As a result, a strong Rule of Law is an important factor in the development of an economy that is both sustainable and competitive.

The Rule of Law is a political idea that demands that people in authority exercise their powers according to well-established public norms. This includes a government that operates within its legal framework, and which is subject to law whenever there is a suspicion of unauthorized actions.

It demands exercise of power within a framework of well-established public norms

The Rule of Law requires that those in authority exercise their powers within a framework of well-established public values and norms. This ensures that government policies and practices follow a prescribed legal framework, and that when there is any hint of unauthorized action by a government official, they must be held to account through law. The Rule of Law also ensures that a government’s actions are transparent and free from any potential conflict of interest.

It incorporates substantive ideals

Law incorporates substantive ideals by protecting the basic human rights of all people in a society. It consists of a set of principles that distinguish between governments under the rule of law and those that are not. For example, Nazi Germany had elements of the rule of law, but it was not governed by it. Therefore, laws should be just, based on principles of justice and equality. But these ideals cannot be the sole determinants of what constitutes law.

It requires respect for precedents

Precedents are important to the rule of law. A precedent is an established rule or principle that has been affirmed by another court in a previous case. These precedents have the power to influence future decisions without a courtroom hearing. The principle of precedent is especially important to common-law legal systems, as it helps to ensure consistency and predictability in outcomes.

It is critical for Supreme Court justices to respect previous precedents. In some cases, a precedent that is outdated or inappropriate should be overruled. This happened recently with the case Knick v. Township of Scott, which overturned a 1985 precedent that blocked certain cases related to property rights in federal court. The decision provoked a great deal of public discussion. Justice Elena Kagan warned against overturning precedents while Clarence Thomas argued for changing bad ones.