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Building a Government of Laws: Adams and Jefferson 1776-1779

Legal Doctrines of the Rule of Law and of the Legal State: IUS GENTIUM, 2013

University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-12

29 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2013 Last revised: 23 May 2015

James R. Maxeiner

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: August 31, 2013

Abstract

Critics call for rethinking the rule of law. American laws are either too specific or are too readily ignored by judges. The American rule of law, by largely ignoring statute law and focusing on judge-made law and asserting judicial supremacy over statutes, undermines good government. This article contends that the "government of laws, not of men" of John Adams and the complete revision (Revisal) of Virginia laws made by Thomas Jefferson show these two founders thought of law in statute law terms closer to the ideas of a legal state than to the common law rule of law.

Keywords: rule of law, codification, judicial supremacy, legislative supremacy, code, revisal, revisors, revision, Jefferson, Adams, Declaration of Right, Frame of Government, Massachusetts Constitution, Virginia law, legqal state, Rechtsstaat

Suggested Citation

Maxeiner, James R., Building a Government of Laws: Adams and Jefferson 1776-1779 (August 31, 2013). Legal Doctrines of the Rule of Law and of the Legal State: IUS GENTIUM, 2013; University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2318838

James Maxeiner (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States
410-837-4628 (Phone)

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