By: MG Paul E. Vallely (US Army Ret) and BG Charles Jones (USAF Ret)
September 12, 2019
Published and Distributed by the Stand Up America US Foundation
Why is the Rule of Law important to the law and order of a country? Our answers!
The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials. It primarily refers to the influence and authority of law within society, particularly as a constraint upon behavior, including behavior of government officials. The rule of law must be applied evenly across the United States Judicial System. This application of law must apply to senior officials of our government and to the individual citizen.
The rule of law is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “The authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior; (hence) the principle whereby all members of a society (including those in government) are considered equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes.
What is the absence of the rule of law? Similarly, the absence of the rule of law is often implicated as a source of conflict, at the very least serving to perpetuate instability. Broadly speaking, the term ‘rule of law’ refers to the presence of transparent, evenly applied rules and statutes. Obligations, penalties, and procedures are clear to everyone.
What is society without the rules of law? A prosperous and free society is possible only when everyone is, by rule of law, protected from force imposed by others, especially those in his own government. The Founders created a nation based on the fundamental principle that the state is subservient to the people.
How is the government limited by the rule of law? The U.S. Constitution establishes rule by law, limiting the government’s power over its citizens. In its simplest form, the rule of law means that “no one is above the law.” It is the foundation for the development of peaceful, equitable and prosperous societies.
The rule of law requires the government to exercise its power in accordance with well-established and clearly written rules, regulations, and legal principles. A distinction is sometimes drawn between power, will, and force, on the one hand, and law, on the other. When a government official acts pursuant to an express provision of a written law, he acts within the rule of law. But when a government official acts without the imprimatur of any law, he or she does so by the sheer force of person…
The preservation of The Republic is critical for the future of America. The Constitution of the United States and the Well Being of American Citizens all depend on the Judicial outcome of the evil and seditious attempt to take down a Duly Elected President. We are waiting to witness and hear the results of Attorney General Barr’s findings. Will the rule of law apply to those senior government officials involved in the Silent Coup?
Editor’s Note – A law is a law – you don’t get to change it unless Congress says you can, that is called balance of power, separation of powers. Of course, the Obama administration cares little about that, so he just changes enforcement and implementation as he sees fit. What OATH! Faithfully execute…blah, “we don’t need badges”!
Yet Another White House Obamacare Delay: Out-Of-Pocket Caps Waived Until 2015
First, there was the delay of Obamacare’s Medicare cuts until after the election. Then there was the delay of the law’s employer mandate. Then there was the announcement, buried in the Federal Register, that the administration would delay enforcement of a number of key eligibility requirements for the law’s health insurance subsidies, relying on the “honor system” instead. Now comes word that another costly provision of the health law—its caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs—will be delayed for one more year.
According to the Congressional Research Service, as of November 2011, the Obama administration had missed as many as one-third of the deadlines, specified by law, under the Affordable Care Act. Here are the details on the latest one.
Obamacare contains a blizzard of mandates and regulations that will make health insurance more costly. One of the most significant is its caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs, such as co-pays and deductibles. Section 2707(b) of the Public Health Service Act, as added by Obamacare, requires that “a group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may not establish lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits for the any participant or beneficiary.” Annual limits on cost-sharing are specified by Section 1302(c) of the Affordable Care Act; in addition, starting in 2014, deductibles are limited to $2,000 per year for individual plans, and $4,000 per year for family plans.
Out-of-pocket caps drive premiums upward
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. If you ban lifetime limits, and mandate lower deductibles, and cap out-of-pocket costs, premiums have to go up to reflect these changes. And unlike a lot of the “rate shock” problems we’ve been discussing, these limits apply not only to individually-purchased health insurance, but also to employer-sponsored coverage. (Self-insured employers are exempted.)
These mandates have already had drastic effects on a number of colleges and universities, which offer inexpensive, defined-cap plans to their healthy, youthful students. Premiums at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., for example, rose from $245 per student in 2011-2012 to between $2,507 in 2012-2013. The University of Puget Sound paid $165 per student in 2011-2012; their rates rose to between $1,500 and $2,000 for 2012-2013. Other schools have been forced to drop coverage because they could no longer afford it.
According to the law, the limits on out-of-pocket costs for 2014 were $6,350 for individual policies and $12,700 for family ones. But in February, the Department of Labor published a little-noticed rule delaying the cap until 2015. The delay was described yesterday by Robert Pear in the New York Times.
Delay needed to align ‘separate computer systems’
Notes Pear, “Under the [one-year delay], many group health plans will be able to maintain separate out-of-pocket limits for benefits in 2014. As a result, a consumer may be required to pay $6,350 for doctors’ services and hospital care, and an additional $6,350 for prescription drugs under a plan administered by a pharmacy benefit manager.”
The reason for the delay? “Federal officials said that many insurers and employers needed more time to comply because they used separate companies to help administer major medical coverage and drug benefits, with separate limits on out-of-pocket costs. In many cases, the companies have separate computer systems that cannot communicate with one another.”
The best part in Pear’s story is when a “senior administration official” said that “we had to balance the interests of consumers with the concerns of health plan sponsors and carriers…They asked for more time to comply.” Exactly how is it in consumers’ interests to pay far more for health insurance than they do already?
It’s not. Unless you have a serious, chronic condition, in which case you may benefit from the fact that law forces healthy people to subsidize your care. To progressives, this is the holy grail. But for economically rational individuals, it’s yet another reason to drop out of the insurance market altogether. For economically rational businesses, it’s a reason to self-insure, in order to get out from under these costly mandates.
Patient groups upset
While insurers and premium-payers will be happy with the delay—whose legal justification is dubious once again—there are groups that grumbled. Specifically, groups representing those with chronic diseases, and the pharmaceutical companies whose costly drugs they will use. “The American Cancer Society shares the concern” about the delay, says Pear, “and noted that some new cancer drugs cost $100,000 a year or more.” But a big part of the reason those drugs cost so much is because manufacturers know that government-run insurers will pay up.
“The promise of out-of-pocket limits was one of the main reasons we supported health reform,” says Theodore M. Thompson of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society . “We have wonderful new drugs, the biologics, to treat rheumatoid arthritis,” said Patience H. White of the Arthritis Foundation. “But they are extremely expensive.”
The progressive solution to expensive problems? More subsidies. But subsidies don’t reduce the underlying cost of care. They only excuse the high prices that manufacturers and service providers already charge.
It’s one of the many aspects of Obamacare that should be repealed, if we are to combat the rate shock that the health law imposes on tens of millions of Americans. But that will require Republicans to come up with a smarter strategy than shutting down the government.
Muneer Awad, who filed the lawsuit against Oklahoma’s attempted ban on sharia law, says that he thinks judges can and should follow directives like those in his will – to “look to Islamic precepts in situations where Awad’s wishes aren’t clear.”
Awad believes initiatives like the one passed by more than 70 percent of Oklahomans — but denied effect by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals — to prohibit judges from citing sharia, or foreign, law as authoritative would bar judges from discerning Islamic religiously-inspired contract and estate instructions. Awad is wrong. He is incorrect in thinking that judges can currently determine a person’s last will and “wishes” by referring to religious precepts.
Judges are already prohibited from deciphering religious issues by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The often misunderstood “wall” that is thought to separate church and state really does block judges from entering the religious realm. Judges may not interpret matters of religious practice and must only apply “neutral principles of law.” The Supreme Court has consistently reinforced its hands-off approach to doctrinal matters believing that courts are ill-equipped to deal with such decisions. Awad, if you leave gaps in your will for a judge to fill according to Islamic tenets, you will be sadly disappointed. Accordingly, so would a Jew or Christian be denied judicial opinion on matters of religious practice.
All of this illustrates the exact problem with sharia and why it is offensive to American traditions. Sharia adherents observe no barricade between mosque and state. Doctrinally dictated sharia rules govern every aspect of a pious Muslim’s life from personal, familial, financial, marital, to civic affairs. Thus, it is not surprising that a sharia-adherent Muslim would expect a legal tribunal to complete gaps in a marital agreement, a contract, or a will. Americans are certainly free to conduct their affairs according to religious motivations but they know not to ask the courts to supply missing articles of faith.
As Americans have consented to be governed according to the rule of citizen-inspired and legislatively-adopted law, it is not surprising that there is a clash with those that would impose dogmatic law dictated by clerics. Oklahomans were correct in their concern; they just turned to the wrong branch of government to protect the culture.
The Tenth Circuit acted according to current Establishment Clause precedent in affirming the hold on the so-called Oklahoma Anti-Sharia Amendment. American courts have determined that government may not take action that singles out a particular religion or creed in a discriminatory fashion. A more generically worded initiative called American Law for American Courts may fare better with wording that simply denies as authority all sources of foreign law when in tension with American law or constitutional protections.
After recently completing a study of American family law cases, I would suggest that it is most important for state legislators to consider adopting clear statutes that would provide standards for secular licensing of marriages, enunciation of prenuptial agreements, and registration of marriages officials.
Again, religious ceremonies and solemnizations may certainly take place outside the civic realm, but when parties present themselves before a judge and ask to have a marriage dissolved or dispute resolved, judges must to be able to define the relationship and the expectation of the parties according to “neutral principles of law.”
The painful lesson learned from Great Britain and Europe is that surrendering authority to adjudicate family law matters to sharia courts or shadow sharia tribunals is just the first step to accepting a subculture that is contrary to democratic values. British MP, Philip Davies observes that “[these courts] do entrench division in society, and do nothing to entrench integration or community cohesion. It leads to a segregated society.” House of Lords member Hope says that “there is no place in [sharia law] for equal rights between men and women.”
While American law and founding traditions protect both individuals and groups, they are based upon a vigorous defense of individual liberty. The rule of law that was established as a bulwark between the citizen and oppressive groups – and the individual and tyrannical government – does not make exceptions for activist groups that demand exceptional treatment.
Karen Lugo is also the Founder of the Libertas-West Project and a co-director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.
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