MAGNA CARTA AND THE CONCEPT OF ‘NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW’ AND A BRIEF STORY ABOUT PARLIAMENTS AND CONGRESS,

Whew-what a long headline. Nonetheless here we go as briefly as possible.

First, the Magna Carta etc. First the first Magna Carta was signed or agreed in 1215 by King John of England. In essence it ecreed or was agreed to that he nor any other king had the right to rule by fiat and was not above the law. In other words he was subject to the “laws of the land” just as anyone else in England was. The Pope of the time didn’t like it and decreed it null and void but noen ot the Barons of Englnd cared because the pPope was really only worried about Papal authority over the Church. It lso said and was agreed that everyone was subjevt to the law and was also entitled to a fair trial. There would be no more executions by Royal Decree. No more taxes without consultation (sound familiar?).

There have been several reaffirmations in the succeeding centuries.

It is notable that there are 4 copies of the original Magna Carta in existence today and most notably one is in the United Sates National Archives Museum. That is how important the Magna Carta, now 304 years old, is to the United States Constitution.

No One Is Above The Law!

Any Idea where we got the idea of a Senate and A house of Representatives?

Remember the Magna Carta? The Barrons of England became in effect the first legislative body in England. Before taxes could be levied they had top agree, as well as other matters of Government. The King no longer wielded unlimited power.

Jump forwar a few hundre years, to 1707. That is when the First Parliament of the United Kingdom, in it’s current form, was instituted. In between there were other parliaments in England and in Scotland. The acts unifying the coountries came later (though Wales and Ireland were around too-don’t forget them).

For convenience sake we will now tak a hop, skip and a jumpt forward to the Constitutional Convention. The Magna Carta wss basic and essential to the formation of the Constitution. Not just the ‘no one is above the law’, but many others including the writ of habeus corpus, and of course no taxation without representation. The origianal Parliaments were nog held at regular intervals and initially it was a single house of the nobility. Soon they included a House of Burgesses which essentially was local officials. This became the 2 chamber parliament we know today. The House of Lords and the House of Commons.

We started out or almost did with a unicameral or one house Congress. Wise heads prevailed and the Senate or upper house was created, and as a compromuse each state had the same number of Senators, so no one state would have any numerical superiority over another in the upper house. For those unware the stste legoslatures appointed senators until the constitution was ammended in the 1920’s to have Senators elected by you and me .

But remember several little but very importamt things here. You, me, Senators and Members of Congress, and judges and Presidents all have to obey the law.

Amd no one, no one, is above the law. Not you. Not me. Not your Senators. Not your Congress members. No the Judges. Not the president. Is above the law.

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