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Letter to the Editor

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Ian Lamar Courts
    Guest Writer

“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.” (John Locke) Law, the law, legal code, Constitutions, etc. are different words used to describe one of the key elements to any civilized and productive society and that element is the “rule of law”. Law has been a central foundation to human society from the ancient civilizations of the Egyptians, Sumerians and the Hammurabi Code, Judeo-Christian traditions and the Mosaic Law, Confucianism of ancient China and among many other legal codes of ethics and written laws. One could say that there could be no viable civilization without the “rule of law”. The Romans, Greeks and even many of the tribal lands and great African Kingdoms and the immense nations of the Aztecs and Maya had their own form of law and legal ethics and code. In our own Western culture and specifically the English Common Law heritage the “rule of law” has been essential and fundamental. From the Magna Carta outlining rights of citizens to their king and the king’s duties to serve citizens. Into our great United States Constitution the “rule of law” has been the cornerstone to our democracy, government and freedoms. Yet all of these great documents were not perfect and complete and were updated and progressed with time. Distinctly our American Constitution a blueprint for democracies and republics around the world was flawed and incomplete. Thus, in our American progressive spirit we added the Bill of Rights and Amendments to enrich the law, and lift up the “rule of law” in our nation. Even in the structure of our government the Supreme Court and the judicial branch serve as keepers of the “rule of law” and “defenders of civil liberties”. Aside from federal courts; state courts have long been places where citizens believing in the “rule of law” would and still do go to solve disputes, get judgements and receive remedy. The billions spent in litigation each year shows at least a mediocre belief of everyday Americans in the “rule of law”. With this devotion to the “rule of law” and protection of legal liberties Congress and President Dwight Eisenhower established the first “Law Day” in 1958. Congress in 1961 made May 1st the official commemorating day of “Law Day”. Each of our presidents since that historical day has given an address on the importance of the “rule of law” and America’s commitment to that. With the current waves of police brutality, community rioting and Congressional polarization one can say that America is not living up to that standard and the “rule of law” is wavering in the country. But in the midst of the livid and high charged climate we as citizens and government officials can renew our belief and commitment to the “rule of law” and all that it stands to protect! Today we can think about how the “rule of law” has brought about significant positive changes in our society, protected liberties and given direction and order in our society. The “rule of law” is still very important to our society and with dedication and commitment to the upholding of this great rule our nation will continue to move forward and our liberties remain protected and order in our society assured.  The following quote from Chief Justice John Marshall a paragon for the “rule of law” and prognosticator of Constitutional interpretation summarizes the importance of the “rule of law” for our society and the duty our government and I add each citizen has to its preservation and edification: “The very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws,..(it is)One of the first duties of government is to afford that protection.”

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