Once upon a time there was a rich woman. The rich woman loved her cat very much. The rich woman wrote a will leaving all her wealth to the cat. When the rich woman died, a lawyer was appointed to be guardian of the cat. The lawyer stole the cat's money. The rich woman thought she was giving her money to the cat, but she was actually giving her money to the cat's guardian.
Once upon a time the founders of America gave the power to defend the rights of americans to the constitution. But the constitution is only a piece of paper. The constitution is not capable of defending anything. So a committee of lawyers was appointed to be guardians of the constitution. The committee of lawyers, otherwise known as the supreme court, stole the rights of americans. Why are you surprised?
A constitution cannot limit the power of government because the government is the guardian of the constitution. When the government decides to disregard the constitution, do you really think the government will stop the government from violating the constitution? All constitutional limits on the power of government are meaningless. I think that a constitution should not contain any limits on the power of the government, because meaningless clauses in the constitution encourage people to think that the constitution is meaningless.
But even though the constitution cannot directly limit the power of government, the constitution can indirectly limit the power of government. The real purpose of a constitution is to describe the process by which the government makes decisions. If the process is difficult, then the government will have little power. For example, suppose the constitution says that all laws must be approved by more than ninety percent of the legislature, and any law can be repealed by ten percent of the legislature. This would make it very difficult to create new laws and very easy to repeal old laws; thus there would probably be very few laws; thus the power of government would be very limited.
Michael J. New of the Cato Institute wrote in The Orange County Register January 16, 2003 that since the early 1990s, six states - Arizona, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Nevada, Lousiana, and Oregon - have enacted laws that require that tax increases must receive supermajority approval in both chambers of the state legislature; and that these states had fewer tax increases than other states in 2002. I say that the reason these states had fewer tax increases was that the legislators believed that the voters were opposed to tax increases. If fifty one percent of the legislators believe that the voters want a tax increase, then they will increase taxes, and they will say the supermajority rule does not apply because the tax increase is not a real tax increase. If the government believes that the voters will not object if the government ignores the constitution or laws, then the government will be willing to ignore the constitution or laws. The supermajority rule does not stop the legislature from raising taxes. Only the voters can stop the legislature from raising taxes. The reason the government does not raise taxes is because the members of the government believe that the voters will vote them out of office if they raise taxes.
The story of the rich cat also demonstrates that there is no such thing as the rule of law. The law cannot rule, so guardians must be appointed to rule in place of the law, and the rule of law becomes the rule of the guardians of the law.
Some people say that some nations have the rule of law, and and other nations do not have the rule of law, and that all nations should adopt the rule of law. These people are wasting their time because the rule of law does not and can not exist. A better idea would be to say the rule of law is a theoretical ideal, and to rate nations based on how well each nation approximates the rule of law, and to make suggestions on what each nation could do to make the judicial system more like the rule of law.