"What happens when the rule of law increasingly bows to the whims and violations of unaccountable public officials?"
This will always happen, even if everyone's intent is good.. it is the nature of the rule of law. For a thorough explanation, see the video,"If you were king" by Larken Rose: http://www.larkenrose.com/video/2139-if-you-were-king.html
After that warm up, you should buy his book, "The Most Dangerous Superstition", to explain further why it will always end up bad.
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