Cass Sunstein on the Rule of Law

In the Obama administration, Cass Sunstein tried with mixed success to restrain the overgrowth of administrative law–an overgrowth that has long since seriously violated “rule of law” principles. In his Bloomberg View column “The Rule of Law Wins One for Tom Brady,” Cass explains what the “rule of law” means, with an application to football’s “Deflategate.” Here is the key paragraph, with numbering added to Cass’s words:

Many people think that the concept has to do with democracy or liberty, or that it requires free markets. But it’s much narrower than that. Reduced to its essentials, the rule of law has just two components.

1. First, the law involved has to be clear and comprehensible, so that people can know, in advance, on what grounds they might be punished.
2. Second, people generally have a right to be heard, and that requires notice of the charges against them, and a fair opportunity to rebut those charges before an unbiased tribunal.