In The Stand, by Stephen King, a simple-minded character named Tom Cullen knows how to spell just one word, so he uses it for everything. ‘M-O-O-N’, that spells ‘ready’. ‘M-O-O-N’, that spells ‘Nebraska’. And so on.
I’ve been reminded of that a lot lately, as the state government issues self-contradictory rules as fast as they can be typed up, with common words and even numbers being redefined (just as ‘shall not’ has over time come to mean ‘may sometimes’, ‘order’ now means ‘suggestion’, and ’21 days’ now means ’38 days’) in the service of expediency.
To sum up: We have a constitution that says the governor can’t do any of the things he’s doing, but a legislature and courts that say he can, operating in a context where the government gets to decide whether its exceeding its constitutional authority; so he’s using powers he doesn’t have to issue orders that aren’t actually orders, but which can be enforced as if they were orders when the police feel like doing that.
This is pretty much the opposite of any sensible definition of ‘the rule of law’. Basically, what it comes down to is this: