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Published on Sep 12, 2009
There is a reason we refer to "the rule of law and not of men" when discussing the American political system. It is because a republican form of government seeks to restrain the unbridled and quixotic passions of pure democracy, rather than yield to them. It also rejects the desire of the majority in favor of individual rights. Democracy seeks to assert the right of the group, but so does a mob with a hangman's noose.
There's also a reason why lady justice is blindfolded: She is not to see the individuals, interest groups, race, or any characteristic at all of those that plead before her--her proper concern is not directed towards them; her care is to decide the law. It's also why the question of justice as presented before judges is not one of mercy (that belongs in the will of the people as expressed through their representatives in law), but one of exacting only what the law requires be exacted.
The rule of law is all about the removal of arbitrary will from its application. A judge who seeks to apply his own notions of justice and mercy (as opposed to those notions being defined by the people through law) is a judge who seeks to impose arbitrary will in opposition to the rule of law. And it is arbitrary will that is the very definition of tyranny.