Why Is the Rule of Law so Important in Democracies

12/12/2022por Mentores

In his 1776 pamphlet Common Sense, American founding father Thomas Paine wrote that the law itself should be more important and powerful than any individual, including a king: Martha Kinsella: There has been an erosion of norms, unwritten rules, and practices in various areas of government, including the Department of Justice. It`s older than the Trump administration. There have already been abuses, such as Watergate and the scandal of firing US prosecutors under the George W. Bush administration. But there has been a marked acceleration in the number and scale of abuses during the current administration. To remedy this situation, we need to do more than simply restore standards that were not written before. We really need to codify them — really give them the force of law — in many different areas, from the rule of law to ethics, to the human resource process and the role of science in public policy. Another essential dimension of the relationship between the rule of law and democracy is the recognition that building democracy and the rule of law can be convergent and mutually reinforcing processes if the rule of law is defined in broad and goal-oriented rather than narrow terms. formal and exclusively procedural. The link is always strong when the rule of law is conceived in relation to substantive outcomes such as justice and democratic governance.

This distinction is often characterized by the contrast between “thin” and “fat” notions of the rule of law. Tell the class that you will create a working definition of the rule of law, a concept that dates back to ancient times. First, ask students to share ideas and information about the rule of law. For much of human history, ruler and law were synonymous – law was simply the will of the ruler. A first step away from such tyranny was the idea of rule by law, including the idea that even a ruler is under the law and should rule by legal means. Democracies have gone even further in establishing the rule of law. While no society or system of government is without problems, the rule of law protects fundamental political, social and economic rights and reminds us that tyranny and lawlessness are not the only alternatives. Simply put, democracy focuses on how societies select those who hold power, while the rule of law deals with how political power is exercised. The underlying premise of the rule of law implies that every citizen is subject to the law and accountable, including legislators and those in government positions.

In this sense, the rule of law seems to promote governance through democracy created for and by the people, just as it stands in stark contrast to the concepts of dictatorship, autocracy and oligarchy, in which those in positions of power and government regulate their affairs outside and outside the scope of the law. In the true sense of the word, the rule of law is called “nomocracy,” derived from the Greek nomos (law) and kratos (rule). Today, democracy is more closely linked to the rule of law. I would like to point out that, according to the current case law of the Court of Justice – even if Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed – I cannot think of a single provision of H.R. 1 that should not be maintained, even under very original or limited case law. But the court is also supposed to be an essential accountability mechanism – it decides not only on the constitutionality of various safeguards, but also on their application. The future of our democracy will therefore depend on a court that considers the protection of democracy as one of its fundamental tasks. This is something we should take into account when we think about affirming a new justice. Building democracy and the rule of law can be mutually reinforcing processes. The rule of law is a crucial factor for the advancement of democracy, based on equality and accountability. By strengthening the rule of law, we protect the rights of all, promote inclusiveness and limit the arbitrary exercise of power, which are cornerstones of modern democracy.

During the negotiations on the General Assembly Declaration on the Rule of Law, some Member States stressed the need for the international community to provide assistance and support at the request of countries emerging from conflict or in the process of democratization, as it does to address the legacy of human rights violations during their transition and transition to democratic and democratic governance. The rule of law could face particular challenges. Finally, the concept was reformulated in paragraph 18, referring only to the specific challenges of the transition, without mentioning democratization. However, this debate has shown that there is a growing awareness of the importance of building on the experience of the last 30 years, especially in the Global South, with multiple and often simultaneous transitions – from war to peace, from command to market economy, from autocratic systems to democratic systems – in order to support local democratisation processes.