The Rule of Law
is the quaint notion that, "law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by decisions of individual government officials. It primarily refers to the influence and authority of law within society, particularly as a constraint upon behaviour, including behaviour of government officials."
I say quaint, because it clearly is not a notion that occurs to Donald Trump and his minions, Cabinet Members, or cronies. To demonstrate how far we have strayed from the concept, Trump issued a Pardon for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby
. As many have speculated, the point was quite clear - the President is trying to send a message to key figures in Mueller's Russia probe. And that message is "loyalty to me is more important than the law."
But we were aware of the President's proclivities long before this. His appointment of those most hostile to "the law" to posts they are unqualified - and even hostile to - occupy. Scott Pruitt, Tom Price, Betsy DeVos - these are familiar complaints. His history of skirting and breaking the law in his previous life is infamous. His pardon of Joe Arpaio is a previous example. These are not the actions of someone who respects "the law" at all.
Recently Bill Kristol launched a new initiative, "Republicans for the Rule of Law
." It's an effort that is WAY
too late, but may, possibly, be well-intentioned. It is hard, however, to take it seriously from the party that gave us the Tax bill, the rejection of Affordable Care, deficits for decades, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Mitch McConnell, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, and now Donald Trump. Their concept of "Rule of Law" is antithetical to the principle.
The impetus for, and much of the text of, the Declaration of Independence
were the many impositions of King George III upon the operations of the colonies - abetted by the Parliament of his age. It was informed by "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind" which impelled them to "declare the causes which impel them to the separation." Then, as now, "a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism". We are, truly, facing that right now.
And it should not be forgotten, that King George, like Donald Trump, was abetted in his depredations by a pliant Parliament not dissimilar to the Congress under the auspices of the Republican party. They have installed numerous uniquely unqualified persons to high offices, abused the "regular order" even to undercut the constitutional obligations of a President of the opposite party (Merrick Garland), and failed to check these abuses - even abetting them for political ends (Devin Nunes).
The Rule of Law may yet prevail, but we are facing a very dark time.