"All men have equal rights to liberty, to their property, and to the protection of the laws. "
-- Voltaire (1694-1778) French Philosopher
"Equal justice under law is not merely a caption on the facade of the Supreme Court building, it is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society. "
-- Lewis Powell, Jr. (1907 - 1998) American Supreme Court Justice
"To withhold the equal protection of the laws, is to undermine the entire structure and threaten it with collapse.... To deny law or justice to any person is, in actual effect, to outlaw them by stripping them of their only protection. It is for such reasons that freedom and equality of justice are essential to a democracy and that denial of justice is the short cut to anarchy. "
-- Reginald Heber Smith ~1919 American Lawyer
-- The Principles of the Free Market
Equal justice as well as equal rights are important pillars of the free market. Historically, governments have often intervened to support unproductive individuals and businesses. "Public" television, radio stations and newspapers, Amtrak, the Post Office and more recently automotive, banking and insurance companies, consume enormous amounts of public funds to compete directly with and take business away from successful private companies and productive individuals.
All individuals and businesses must be treated equally so that each may rise and fall on their own merits. When government rewards inefficiency and poor business practices, it undermines the very structure of the free market. When government erects enormous and almost unmanageable regulatory burdens, it destroys hundreds of smaller competing businesses. It forces small businesses to merge into gigantic mega-corporations capable of meeting the regulator burdens to remain competitive. This violates the principles of equal justice under law as well as the principle of subsidiarity.
When governments intervene creating classes of people and businesses who enjoy special rights and privileges not enjoyed by everyone, it undermines the free market as well as introducing enormous moral hazard. The temptation to grant special rights and privileges to those who put politicians into office must be fought strenuously in every generation by emphasizing the importance of equal justice under law.