Due Process of Law Essay

The Due Process Clause requires “due process”-basic procedural rights- and protects substantive rights. Procedural rights are rights that dictate how the government can legally take away a person’s freedom, property, or life. Moreover, substantive rights secure individual’s basic rights as stated in the Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment applies to the federal government whereas the Fourteenth Amendment applies to the states.

The right to due process, as stated in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments is the most significant right of all because it serves as an assurance that all levels of government must function within the law and offer fair procedures. As stated in the Fifth Amendment, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. ” The government is required apt justification and fair and just legal procedures in order to take away a person’s life, liberty, or property.

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If The Bill of Rights did not offer such an amendment, any person can be stripped of their life, liberty, or property, without the government even presenting any lawful grounds. Action denying the process that is “due” would be unconstitutional. Furthermore, the Fourteenth Amendment adds, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. ” The city of New Orleans contravened this clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in the Slaughterhouse Cases of 1873 by refusing butchers the privilege of practicing their profession.

Worried that everyone would start challenging state laws and actions, the Supreme Court ruled against the plaintiffs. The butchers should not have been denied of practicing their profession leading to lack of support to their family. Another clause enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment is “nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ” The Equal Protection Clause forbids the states from establishing segregated schools or otherwise discriminating invidiously against their citizens. Every citizen shall be an EQUAL citizen. What would life be like if we lost the right to due process in the future?

Citizens would not be protected against unfair actions by all levels of governments. Governments would gain the power to treat citizens unequally because of membership in a group, like a race, religion or sex. Governments would not need appropriate justification if they were to deprive someone of their life, liberty, or property. Governments would take a person into custody on mere suspicion that he is a criminal or prosecute him without informing him what he was being prosecuted for. And lastly, governments would go back and give each baby that was taken of his/her life during abortion–a trial.


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