I will add that the law of the United States at both the federal and state levels was originally largely derived from the common law system of English law, which was in force at the time of the Revolutionary War. However, U.S. law has diverged greatly from its English ancestor both in terms of substance and procedure, and has incorporated a number of civil law innovations. Still, the US Legal system is a common law system and this priciple applies.
The Rule Of Law
by Doctor Mark Cooray
The rule of law is fundamental to the western democratic order. Aristotle said more than two thousand years ago, "The rule of law is better than that of any individual." Lord Chief Justice Coke quoting Bracton said in the case of Proclamations (1610) 77 ER 1352"The King himself ought not to be subject to man, but subject to God and the law, because the law makes him King".
The rule of law in its modern sense owes a great deal to the late Professor AV Dicey. Professor Dicey's writings about the rule of law are of enduring significance.
The essential characteristics of the rule of law are:
i. The supremacy of law, which means that all persons (individuals and government) are subject to law.
ii. A concept of justice which emphasises interpersonal adjudication, law based on standards and the importance of procedures.
iii. Restrictions on the exercise of discretionary power.
iv. The doctrine of judicial precedent.
v. The common law methodology.
vi. Legislation should be prospective and not retrospective.
vii. An independent judiciary.
viii. The exercise by Parliament of the legislative power and restrictions on exercise of legislative power by the executive.
ix. An underlying moral basis for all law.