Applying The Rule of Law

Below is a fictional scenario with real world applications. Read, click, hover, and interact as you apply the rule of law in this story.

The Scenario

Andy and Lucy are snowboarders who like to ride at the Medicine Rock Ski Area. Medicine Rock is operated by the Wyoming State Park Service and is on state-owned land.

Because of skiers’ complaints, the Wyoming Legislature enacted the Skier Safety Act. The Skier Safety Act does not allow snowboarding at Medicine Rock, so Andy and Lucy protested at the Medicine Rock Lodge. Two weeks later, the Park Service Director made a rule that prevents demonstrations on Medicine Rock property.

The Lawsuit

Andy and Lucy have hired a lawyer to file a lawsuit which claims:

The Skier Safety Act violates the equal protection provisions of the Wyoming Constitution because it treats similarly situated people (skiers and snowboarders) differently, without just cause.

The Park Director’s rule prohibiting demonstrations violates Andy and Lucy’s right to free speech. The Park Director’s rule violates the Wyoming Administrative Procedure Act. The Act requires state agencies to follow certain procedures, including giving notice to the public before making rules.

Now that you know the story, there are multiple sources of law to keep in mind when considering the lawsuit.

With the knowledge of the laws and statutes of both the state and federal governments, now it’s time to apply the rule of law according to the four foundational pillars.

The Decision
Pillar 1 - Separation of Powers

The judiciary will exercise its power to interpret the constitution and decide whether the laws enacted by the legislature are constitutional. They’ll also decide whether the actions of the executive branch comply with the laws enacted by the legislature.

Pillar 2 - Guaranteed Individual Rights

As individuals, Andy and Lucy are guaranteed freedom of speech. They believe this freedom has been violated by the Park Director’s rule preventing demonstrations on Medicine Rock property.

Pillar 3 - Due Process of Law

Due process of law means people like Andy and Lucy have a right to be told, in advance, how laws will affect them. The right to due process is also included in the Wyoming Administrative Procedure Act that requires adequate notice before rulemaking and enforcement.

Pillar 4 - Equal Protection of the Laws

Andy and Lucy believe that they, as snowboarders, are the same as skiers. That means they deserve equal treatment and protection under the law.

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