In an email, Professor David Auerbach sends me a link to this clarifying and valuable essay on the subject of norms. It is worth reading.
My post has, as I hoped, provoked a stimulating discussion. Let me expand on one point that I think was not at all clear in the original post.
My discomfort does not arise from the hypocrisy of those who piously profess a commitment to the rule of law all the while undermining and violating it. As Jesus did not say but might have [see Matthew 23:27, for example], the hypocrites we always have with us. I was troubled by the thought that the norms themselves are ideological rationalizations and mystifications of the exploitative structure of capitalism, and hence have no independent status. Although it is, alas, much too early for such thoughts, we need to think through what the norms of a socialist society would be, grounded in a collective, non-exploitative economic order.
In the meantime, I am enormously relieved that the California Democratic Party has survived the jungle primary and has a serious chance of contributing six, seven, or more flipped seats to the 23 we need in order to take control of the House.
Sufficient unto the day.