• Rule of Law
o “An empire of laws, not men” – John Adams
o “When they are making laws not designed to bind themselves…” – John
• Law in its nature is something that is applied to everybody equally
o Equally as in no matter who they are/characteristics but also extends to the
Everybody is treated the same no matter who they are – principle of
equality under law
• Rule of Men = someone in power can act arbitrarily/ treats people not equally
o Opposite/lack of Rule of Law
• Burden of justifying unequal treatment is because it has a broader public purpose
• Strike down laws not intended for public purpose but that give specific people a leg
o Ongoing rhetoric of equal treatment
Public authority should be used to benefit the government, not a
• Violation of “Due Process” means it doesn’t follow the Rule of Law
• Lots of ways to look at the Revolution
o Revolution as a constitutional dispute within the English constitutional system
• Everyone in the colonies were Englishmen
o Relationship between English and the colonies and the English and the mainland • Also about fidelity of fundamental law to English constitution
o Colonists came to believe that conduct of the English towards them violated the
• Many people believe that America has had 3 Constitutions:
o Constitution from establishment of America to the Civil War
o Civil War to the New Deal
o New Deal onward
• Others look at it as One Constitution going through time
• Different forms of colonies: corporate, royal, proprietary
o Each had different motivations for going to America – God and money
• Each of the colonies had direct relationship with London but no formal direct relationship
between each other
• French and Indian war occurred, and the English spent an enormous amount of money
protecting the colonies and were broke
o Wanted colonists to pay for their protection tax them!
These taxes were passed by parliament and the Americans in their
colonies did not vote for any members of Parliament
• Beginning of the problems and raised questions of constitutional
• Are there any limits on power of parliament to do what it wants?
o Is the Constitution being violated?
If there is a violation, who gets to remedy it?
• William Blackstone wrote Commentaries on Law
o Theory of Parliamentary supremacy “what the parliament doth, no force on
Earth can undo”
Is it flawed?
• Issue of representation • Dr. Benhaw’s Case
o Judge in England said that the actions of the Parliament are limited by the
Common law = comes out of England. When talking about the world,
places that used to be English colonies inherited common law system.
Grew up through triadic disputes (A sues B and judge decides the case).
Add up decisions for hundreds of years and end up with a system of
rules. All based on concrete experience rather than philosophy.
Civil Law = comes out of Roman and French law. Come out of something
like a Napoleonic Code. Smart lawyer