Liberty To All But Preference To None
Primary Principals of Common Law
Liberty to all but preference to none.
This maxim explains that liberty belongs to each of us equally.
As stated in our Declaration of Independence we each have Godgiven rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But, none has more of these rights than any other. God gives to each by the same measure. There is no preference to any.
This being so, our courts are obligated to protect our liberties accordingly.
Each of us is entitled to equal treatment under law.
None is entitled to any privilege denied to others … absolutely none!
This maxim is the soul of our American legal heritage, for it was in America the concept was first given its fullest recognition. None has a greater claim to live free. No king, no priest, no celebrity, no judge, not any person has any greater right to walk free than any lowly carpenter, plumber, or law-abiding street minstrel.
We are all equals in the sight of our law.
Of course, if we violate the obligations and responsibilities that arise from the privileges our laws provide, then we may lose our liberties. If we murder, lie, or steal we are in violation of law, and the law has a remedy. Our courts can take our liberty away. If we refuse to love our neighbors as ourselves, the law can limit our liberties or even to take our life if the crime is sufficiently outrageous.
But, so long as we obey the law we are at liberty to love, to live, to laugh, and to enjoy all the benefits life has to offer any other human soul, regardless of our heritage, financial circumstance, or political advantage.
The right to liberty does not grant a right to take what others have. The right to liberty does not grant a right to demand material wealth. The right to liberty is a power to do with our own lives whatever we may choose to do, using whatever we have at hand to accomplish our goals, but it does not give us the right to take from others. It does not give us the right to lie about others. It does not give us the right to limit the liberties of others just because we don’t like their opinions or the way they dress or the things they say. The right to liberty is the right to obey laws and while obeying laws to live free from interference by the state or others.
Liberty is a great privilege, so the obligations and responsibilities that go with liberty are also great.
We in this nation risk losing our liberties because we too often are unwilling to fight for the liberties of others and too quick to grant special privileges.
We share an obligation and responsibility to protect our neighbors from the exercise of unlawful power.
Justice for all. Privilege for none.