Rule of Law in United States

The rule of law is a fundamental concept in the United States, and it refers to the principle that all individuals and institutions, including government officials and entities, are subject to and accountable under the law. This concept ensures that the law, rather than the arbitrary decisions or whims of individuals, governs society.

Constitutional basis: The rule of law is deeply rooted in the US Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. The Constitution establishes the framework for government, outlines the powers and limitations of each branch, and enshrines the protection of individual rights. It also includes the principle of due process, which ensures that individuals are entitled to fair and impartial legal proceedings.

Due process: The rule of law requires that legal procedures be fair and impartial. It ensures that individuals are provided notice of charges against them, have the right to legal representation, and are entitled to a fair and timely trial by an impartial tribunal.

Equality before the law: The rule of law dictates that all individuals, regardless of their background, social status, wealth, race, ethnicity, gender, or any other personal characteristic, should be treated equally and fairly by the legal system. It prohibits discrimination and favouritism in legal proceedings.

Protection of individual rights: The US Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments), guarantees a range of individual rights and liberties, including freedom of speech, religion, and the press; the right to a fair trial; protection from unreasonable searches and seizures; and many others. These rights are upheld through the rule of law.

Separation of powers: The US system of government is based on the separation of powers among three branches: the legislative branch (Congress), the executive branch (the President), and the judicial branch (the federal courts). Each branch has its own distinct powers and responsibilities, and they are designed to check and balance one another's actions. This ensures that no single branch becomes too powerful and that government operates within the boundaries of the law.

Judicial independence: The rule of law relies on an independent and impartial judiciary. Judges in the United States are expected to make decisions based on the law and the Constitution, rather than political or personal biases. They are protected from undue influence or interference from other branches of government.

Enforcement of laws: The government and law enforcement agencies are responsible for enforcing the law fairly and without discrimination. Law enforcement officers are expected to uphold the law while respecting the rights and dignity of individuals.

Accountability of public officials: Public officials, including elected representatives and government employees, are held accountable for their actions. They can be subject to legal proceedings and impeachment if they engage in misconduct or violate the law.

Accessibility and clarity of laws: Laws should be drafted in a clear and concise language that is understandable to the ordinary citizens. Laws should be written in precise and unambiguous language to prevent misunderstandings and disputes over their meaning. This promotes accessibility and ensures that citizens can comprehend their rights and responsibilities under the law.

Protection from arbitrary government action: The rule of law safeguards individuals and organisations from arbitrary government actions. It prevents government officials from exercising unchecked power and mandates that their actions be based on lawful authority.

The rule of law is a foundational principle that helps maintain order, protect individual rights, and ensure justice within the United States. It is upheld by the judiciary, legal professionals, law enforcement agencies, and a commitment to the principles and values enshrined in the Constitution.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.