"Wherever law ends, tyranny begins," declared the English philosopher John Locke in 1690. Power corrupts and if democratic institutions are to survive the law must be paramount and no one, whether prime minister or president, should be above the law.

A private individual recently brought a case in the High Court in London against the British government, accusing it of trying to use the royal prerogative to invoke Article 50 of the EU Treaty to secede from the European Union without first obtaining authority from parliament. The two judges who heard the case found against the government. The government appealed to the British Supreme Court. The court of 11 senior judges upheld by a significant majority the original judgment. As a consequence, the government were forced to seek specific authority from Parliament.

Some Brexit-supporting newspapers criticized the judges as "enemies of the people" for ignoring the results of last year's referendum. This criticism was wholly unjustified. The judges made their decision solely on legal and constitutional grounds. The government, which accepted the judgment, and in particular the minister of justice, should have been quicker and more forthright in condemning press slurs of the judiciary.