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
29 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2013 Last revised: 23 May 2015
Date Written: August 31, 2013
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
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