On Rule of Law

There is a strange idea going around among some anti-immigration politicians, pundits, and lobbyists that changing the law, e.g. to open up more visas or to retroactively welcome people to the country, undermines the rule of law.

If the law is not meeting the needs of the country, if it cannot be consistently enforced, if such enforcement would be unjust, then the law undermines the rule of law. Changing the law so that it can be more practically, consistently, and justly enforced upholds the rule of law by making the law something reasonable to get behind.

Further, holding the law as immutable is not rule of law, it is tyranny of law. Those of you who know your Old Testament stories might recall a couple in which the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked, play a key role. One involved Daniel getting a free night’s stay at Lion’s Den Inn and Suites. Another ended with a state-sponsored bloodbath as the only legal means of stopping a genocide.

If we care about rule of law, we must seek to make the law reasonable and just. Our other options are tyranny and lawlessness.