There are two reasons for law to exist, one is to protect
life, liberty, and property. The other is to take
life, liberty, and property. There are two reasons for government to exist, one is to enact, enforce, then pass judgement on law
. The other is to enact law, enforce law, then pass judgement on people
Throughout history, monarchs, dictators, despots, and others enacted laws to pass judgement on people for the purpose of controlling their lives, liberty, and property. When the United States came into existence our founding fathers, in effect, said "we are going to pass judgement on law" to protect individual life, liberty, and property. This had never been done before and is the reason America is exceptional.
The Rule of Law
How do you pass judgement on law? You ask. What is commonly said is "we live in a nation of law, we are governed by law, the law rules." What should be said is "we live in a nation of law not of men, the law rules." Hopefully someone will ask the question "if men make the law then men rule?" The law that rules, man made law, and the rule of law are not the same thing. The rule of law is the standard that is used to determine if man made law is valid.
In the rule of law; law cannot be retroactive. The founding fathers knew this when they wrote "no ex post facto law" and, it's the reason we have grandfather clauses to various laws because without them, no one would be able to plan his future knowing sometime in the future someone could pass a law undoing everything that was planed today. Law must be consistent over time.
In the rule of law; the penalty for violating the law must be foreknown. This tenant keeps political crime to a minimum. Political crime is the pre-curser to political correctness. Law must be consistent among men.
In the rule of law; Law cannot give any individual or group an advantage over any other individual or group. It's the reason there have been demands for campaign finance reform. Again, Law must be consistent among men. In order for law to give, it must first take because law has nothing. Our founding fathers chose to protect not take. How did they do it?
In the rule of law; We do not murder, steal, bear false witness against each other or, waste time coveting. (acting on jealousies) You should recognize these as four of the ten commandments. All of them start with "you shall not...." (depending on the version you read) None of them say "you shall not except under condition of." There are no conditions under which these behaviors are acceptable and, because they are unacceptable they are absolute. And, because they are absolute we have a standard on which we can base our judgements. Rational thought can now occur. Rational thought comes from the moral not the other way around. (Plato and Kant were wrong in this regard) Law must be moral.
One other item must be addressed. Violating the law is not a crime. It's what one intends to do when he violates the law that could make it a crime. It is incumbent on the accuser to prove the person who violated the law did so with criminal intent; i.e. take someone's life, liberty, or property. Without proving intent, there is no "presumption of innocence."