John Ponet: The magistrate is subject to the positive laws of the country

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... And they being but executors of God’s laws, and men’s just ordinances, be also not exempted from them, but be bounden to be subject and obedient unto them. For good and just laws of man be God’s power and ordinances, and they are but ministers of the laws, and not the laws self. And if they were exempt from the laws, and so it were lawful for them to do what them lusteth, their authority being of God, it might be said, that God allowed their tyranny robbery of their subjects, killing them without law, and so God the author of evil: which were a great blasphemy. Justiniā the emperor well considered, when he made this saying to be put into the body of the Laws.

It is a worthy saying (saith he) for the Majesty of him that is in authority, to confess that the prince is subject to the laws, the authority of the prince do the so much depend on the authority of the laws. And certainly it is more honour than the honour of the empire, to submit the principality unto the laws. For in deed laws be made, that the wilful self will of men should not rule, but that they should have a line to lead them, as they might not go out of the way of justice: and that (if any would say, they did them wrong) they might allege the law for their warrant and authority.

It is also a principle of all laws grounded on the law of nature, that every man should use himself and be obedient to that law, that he will others be bounden unto. For otherwise he taketh away that equality (for there is no difference between the head and foot, concerning the use and benefit of the laws) whereby common wealths be maintained and kept up. What equality (I beseech you) should there be, where the subject should do to his ruler all the ruler would: and the ruler to the subject, that the ruler lusted? ...

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Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I think that whenever Congress or Parliament pass a new law, they, their staff, and their families should all be investigated immediately for violations of it preceding and following the passage of that law, and the maximum penalty should be imposed for any breaches of it.
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