ANSWERS: 3
  • The due process of law is the principle that the government respects every person's equal rights. The judiciary uses due process to insure that every person who is tried in a court of law has his or her rights (as stated in the Bill of Rights) upheld.
  • The 14th is important because it applies directly to the states. Through the doctrine of substantive due process, the courts essentially require that the legislature have a good enough reason for restricting our life, liberty, and property rights. What constitutes a "liberty" interest was up for debate for some time. For a long while, only "fundamental" rights like the first amendment's right to free speech were thought to be incorporated (see Palko). However, the supreme court moved to a process of selective incorporation, which included the fundamental rights but also included fundamental procedural rights, like the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to counsel, the right to confrontation, the right to a speedy process, etc. To determine which rights were incorporated to the states, the court looked to the anglo-american legal tradition in Duncan and ended up incorporating everything in the bill of rights aside from the grand jury and excessive bail provisions. This had a hand in changing the balance between state and federal governmental power and restricted state power significantly.
  • Due Process is the idea that laws and legal proceedings must be fair. The Constitution guarantees that the government cannot take away a person's basic rights to 'life, liberty or property, without due process of law.' Courts have issued numerous rulings about what this means in particular cases.

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