Due process

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Due process (more fully due process of law) is the principle that the government must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person according to the law of the land, instead of respecting merely some or most of those legal rights. As developed through a large body of case law in the United States, this principle gives individuals a varying ability to enforce their rights against alleged violations by governments and their agents (that is, state actors), but normally not against other private citizens.

Due process has also been frequently interpreted as placing limitations on laws and legal proceedings, in order for judges instead of legislators to define and guarantee fundamental fairness, justice, and liberty. This interpretation has often proven controversial, and is analogous to the concepts of natural justice, and procedural justice used in various other jurisdictions.

[edit] Text in the United States Constitution

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The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ....

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ...

[edit] History prior to U.S. Bill of Rights

The term "due process" existed long before it was inserted into the U.S. Constitution in 1791. The term had a lengthy history in both England and America.

[edit] In England

The concept of "due process" dates back to Magna Carta of A.D. 1215. In Chapter 39 of the Magna Carta, King John of England promised as follows: "No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land."[1] Magna Carta itself immediately became part of the "law of the land", and Chapter 61 of that great charter authorized an elected body of twenty-five barons to determine by majority vote what redress the King must provide when the King offends "in any respect against any man."[1] Thus, Magna Carta established the rule of law in England by not only requiring the monarchy to obey the law of the land, but also limiting how the monarchy could change the law of the land. It should be noted, however, that in the thirteenth century these provisions may have been referring only to the rights of landowners, and not to ordinary peasantry or villagers.[2]

Shorter versions of Magna Carta were subsequently issued by British monarchs, and Chapter 39 of Magna Carta was renumbered "29."[3] The phrase due process of law first appeared in a statutory rendition of Magna Carta in A.D. 1354 during the reign of Edward III of England, as follows: "No man of what state or condition he be, shall be put out of his lands or tenements nor taken, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without he be brought to answer by due process of law."[4]

In 1608, the English jurist Edward Coke wrote a treatise in which he discussed the meaning of Magna Carta. Coke explained that no man shall be deprived but by legem terrae, the law of the land, "that is, by the common law, statute law, or custom of England.... (that is, to speak it once and for all) by the due course, and process of law.."[5]

Both the clause in Magna Carta and the later statute of 1354 were again explained in 1704 (during the reign of Queen Anne) by the Queen's Bench, in the case of Regina v. Paty.[6] In that case, the House of Commons had deprived John Paty and certain other citizens of the right to vote in an election, and had committed them to Newgate Prison merely for the offense of pursuing a legal action in the courts.[7] The Queen's Bench, in an opinion by Justice Powys, explained the meaning of "due process of law" as follows:

[I]t is objected, that by Mag. Chart. c. 29, no man ought to be taken or imprisoned, but by the law of the land. But to this I answer, that lex terrae is not confined to the common law, but takes in all the other laws, which are in force in this realm; as the civil and canon law.... By the 28 Ed. 3, c. 3, there the words lex terrae, which are used in Mag. Char. are explained by the words, due process of law; and the meaning of the statute is, that all commitments must be by a legal authority.[6]

Chief Justice Holt dissented in this case, because he believed that the commitment had not in fact been by a legal authority. The House of Commons had purported to legislate unilaterally, without approval of the House of Lords, ostensibly in order to regulate the election of its members.[8] Although the Queen's Bench held that the House of Commons had not infringed or overturned due process, John Paty was ultimately freed by Queen Anne when she prorogued Parliament.

Throughout centuries of British history, many laws and treatises asserted various requirements as being part of "due process" or included in the "law of the land". This view usually held in regards to what was required by existing law, rather than what was intrinsically required by due process itself. As the U.S. Supreme Court has explained, a due process requirement in Britain was not "essential to the idea of due process of law in the prosecution and punishment of crimes, but was only mentioned as an example and illustration of due process of law as it actually existed in cases in which it was customarily used."[9]

The scattered references to "due process of law" in English law did not limit the power of the government, which has led some commentators to say that "the great phrases failed to retain their vitality."[10] This is generally attributed to the rise of the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy in the United Kingdom, which was accompanied by hostility towards judicial review as an undemocratic foreign invention.[11]

Scholars have occasionally interpreted Lord Coke's ruling in Dr. Bonham's Case as implying the possibility of judicial review, but by the 1870s, Lord Campbell was dismissing judicial review as "a foolish doctrine alleged to have been laid down extra-judicially in Dr. Bonham's Case..., a conundrum [that] ought to have been laughed at."[12] Lacking the power of judicial review, English courts possessed no means by which to declare government statutes or acts invalid as a violation of due process. As a consequence, English law and American law diverged, with American legislators possessing no means by which to declare judicial invalidation of statutes incorrect. In 1977, an English political science professor explained the present situation in England for the benefit of American lawyers:

An American constitutional lawyer might well be surprised by the elusiveness of references to the term 'due process of law' in the general body of English legal writing... Today one finds no space devoted to due process in Halsbury's Laws of England, in Stephen's Commentaries, or Anson's Law and Custom of the Constitution. The phrase rates no entry in such works as Stroud's Judicial Dictionary or Wharton's Law Lexicon.[13]

Two similar concepts in contemporary English law are natural justice (which generally applies only to decisions of administrative agencies and some types of private bodies like trade unions) and the British constitutional concept of the rule of law as articulated by A. V. Dicey and others.[14] However, neither concept lines up perfectly with the American conception of due process, which, as explained below, presently contains many implied rights not found in the ancient or modern concepts of due process in England.[15]

[edit] In the U.S.

In the early U.S., the terms law of the land and due process were used somewhat interchangeably. The 1776 Constitution of Maryland, for example, used the language of Magna Carta, including the law of the land phrase.[16] In New York, a statutory bill of rights was enacted in 1787, and it contained four different due process clauses.[17] Alexander Hamilton commented on the language of that New York bill of rights: "The words 'due process' have a precise technical import...."[18]

New York was the only state that asked Congress to add "due process" language to the U.S. Constitution. New York ratified the U.S. Constitution and proposed the following amendment in 1788: "[N]o Person ought to be taken imprisoned or disseised of his freehold, or be exiled or deprived of his Privileges, Franchises, Life, Liberty or Property but by due process of Law."[19]

In response to this proposal from New York, James Madison drafted a Due Process Clause for Congress.[20] Madison cut out some language, and inserted the word without, which had not been proposed by New York. Congress then adopted the exact wording that Madison proposed, after Madison explained that the Due Process Clause would not be sufficient to protect various other rights:

Although I know whenever the great rights, the trial by jury, freedom of the press, or liberty of conscience, come in question in that body [Parliament], the invasion of them is resisted by able advocates, yet their Magna Charta does not contain any one provision for the security of those rights, respecting which the people of America are most alarmed.[20]

No state or federal constitution in the U.S. had ever before utilized any "due process" wording, prior to 1791 when the federal Bill of Rights was ratified. However, when the U.S. Constitution took effect in 1789, it did contain a Supremacy Clause, which specified that the Constitution itself, and federal statutes enacted pursuant to the Constitution, would be the supreme "law of the land". As mentioned, in the early United States, the terms law of the land and due process were used somewhat interchangeably.

[edit] Interpretation of Due Process Clause in U.S. Constitution

The Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process is applicable only to actions of the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment contains virtually the same phrase, but expressly applied to the states. Therefore, those two clauses only apply against state actors, and not against private citizens. The Supreme Court has interpreted those two clauses identically, as Justice Felix Frankfurter once explained in a concurring opinion: “To suppose that ‘due process of law’ meant one thing in the Fifth Amendment and another in the Fourteenth is too frivolous to require elaborate rejection.”[21]

The due process clause applies to "legal persons" (that is, corporate personhood) as well as to individuals. Many state constitutions also have their own guarantees of due process (or the equivalent) that may, by their own terms or by the interpretation of that State's judiciary, extend even more protection to certain individuals than under federal law.

Due process under the U.S. Constitution not only restrains the executive and judicial branches, but additionally restrains the legislative branch. For example, as long ago as 1855, the Supreme Court explained that, in order to ascertain whether a process is due process, the first step is to “examine the constitution itself, to see whether this process be in conflict with any of its provisions....”[22] In case a person is deprived of liberty by a process that conflicts with some provision of the Constitution, then the Due Process Clause normally prescribes the remedy: restoration of that person's liberty. The Supreme Court held in 1967 that “we cannot leave to the States the formulation of the authoritative ... remedies designed to protect people from infractions by the States of federally guaranteed rights.”[23]

As a limitation on Congress, the Due Process Clause has been interpreted by the Supreme Court not only as a remedial requirement when other constitutional rights have been violated, but furthermore as having additional "procedural" and "substantive" components, meaning that the Clause purportedly imposes unenumerated restrictions on legal procedures—the ways in which laws may operate—and also on legal substance—what laws may attempt to do or prohibit. This theory of unenumerated rights is controversial. For example, Justice Clarence Thomas stated as follows, in a 2004 dissent:[24]

As an initial matter, it is possible that the Due Process Clause requires only “that our Government must proceed according to the ‘law of the land’—that is, according to written constitutional and statutory provisions.” In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 382 (1970), (Black, J., dissenting).

Despite the objections of people like Justice Hugo Black in Winship, the courts have attempted to extract unwritten requirements from the Due Process Clause, regarding both procedure as well as substance. The distinction between substance and procedure is difficult in both theory and practice to establish. Moreover, the substantive component of due process has proven to be even more controversial than the procedural component, because it gives the Court considerable power to strike down state and federal statutes that criminalize various activities.

By the middle of the 19th century, "due process of law" was interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court to mean that “it was not left to the legislative power to enact any process which might be devised. The [due process] article is a restraint on the legislative as well as on the executive and judicial powers of the government, and cannot be so construed as to leave Congress free to make any process ‘due process of law’ by its mere will.”[22] But determining what those restraints are has been a subject of considerable disagreement.

[edit] Procedural due process

Procedural due process is essentially based on the concept of "fundamental fairness." As construed by the courts, it includes an individual's right to be adequately notified of charges or proceedings, the opportunity to be heard at these proceedings, and that the person or panel making the final decision over the proceedings be impartial in regards to the matter before them. Procedural due process has also been an important factor in the development of the law of personal jurisdiction.

In the United States, criminal prosecutions and civil cases are governed by explicit guarantees of procedural rights under the Bill of Rights, most of which have been incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment to the States. Due process has also been construed to generally protect the individual so that statutes, regulations, and enforcement actions must ensure that no one is deprived of "life, liberty, or property" without a fair opportunity to affect the judgment or result. This protection extends to all government proceedings that can result in an individual's deprivation, whether civil or criminal in nature, from parole violation hearings to administrative hearings regarding government benefits and entitlements to full-blown criminal trials. In criminal cases, many of these due process protections overlap with procedural protections provided by the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees reliable procedures that protect innocent people from being executed, which would be tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment.[25]

In 1934, the United States Supreme Court held that due process is violated "if a practice or rule offends some principle of justice so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental".[26]

[edit] Substantive due process

Substantive due process, as commonly defined, has two meanings which give the term an inherent ambiguity.[27] The nature of the first meaning is related to analytical jurisprudence, identifying case decisions concerning liberty-based due process challenges which sought particular outcomes instead of merely contesting procedures and their effects.[27] In such cases, the court recognizes a constitutionally-based "liberty" which then renders laws seeking to limit said "liberty" either unenforceable or limited in scope.[27] Originally, there was no distinction between due process "liberty" as interpreted by the court through police power analysis, in cases such as Lochner, when compared to textually-based Bill of Rights "liberty" incorporated upon the states.[28]

The second meaning of the term describes a normative jurisprudence perspective which considers judicial review of vague constitutional provisions—e.g., the Necessary and Proper Clause—as an encroachingly inappropriate exercise of unaccountable judicial authority.[27] Those holding that perspective believe such interpretations ought to be left to the more politically accountable branches of government.[27] It was only after due process case opinions were reorganized in 1950s casebooks that "substantive due process" began to take on the more pejorative meaning related to this second definition, which ultimately laid the foundation for the "rise and fall of substantive due process" narrative.[29]

[edit] Substantive due process basics

Courts have viewed the due process clause, and sometimes other clauses of the Constitution of the United States of America, as embracing those fundamental rights that are “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”[30] Just what those rights are is not always clear, nor is the Supreme Court's authority to enforce such unenumerated rights clear.[31] Some of those rights have long histories or “are deeply rooted” in American society.

The courts have largely abandoned the Lochner era approach (ca. 1897-1937) when substantive due process was used to strike down minimum wage and labor laws in order to protect freedom of contract. Since then, the Supreme Court has decided that numerous other freedoms that do not appear in the plain text of the Constitution are nevertheless protected by the Constitution. If these rights were not protected by the federal courts' doctrine of substantive due process, they could nevertheless be protected in other ways; for example, it is possible that some of these rights could be protected by other provisions of the state or federal constitutions,[32] and alternatively they could be protected by legislatures.[33][17]

Today, the Court focuses on three types of rights under substantive due process in the Fourteenth Amendment,[citation needed] which originated in United States v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U.S. 144 (1938), footnote 4. Those three types of rights are:

  • the first eight amendments in the Bill of Rights (e.g. the Eighth Amendment);
  • restrictions on the political process (e.g. the rights of voting, association, and free speech); and
  • the rights of “discrete and insular minorities.”

The Court usually looks first to see if there is a fundamental right, by examining if the right can be found deeply rooted in American history and traditions. Where the right is not a fundamental right, the court applies a rational basis test: if the violation of the right can be rationally related to a legitimate government purpose, then the law is held valid. If the court establishes that the right being violated is a fundamental right, it applies strict scrutiny. This test inquires into whether there is a compelling state interest being furthered by the violation of the right, and whether the law in question is narrowly tailored to address the state interest.

[edit] Development and use of substantive due process as legal doctrine

Early in American judicial history, various jurists attempted to form theories of natural rights and natural justice that would limit the power of government, especially regarding property and the rights of persons. Opposing "vested rights" were jurists who argued that the written constitution was the supreme law of the State and that judicial review could look only to that document — not to the "unwritten law" of "natural rights". Opponents further argued that the "police power" of government enabled legislatures to regulate the holding of property in the public interest, subject only to specific prohibitions of the written constitution.

The idea of substantive due process came in as a way to import natural law norms into the United States Constitution; prior to the Civil War, the state courts — ungoverned by the Fifth Amendment — were the arenas in which this struggle was carried out. Some critics of substantive due process argue that the doctrine began, at the federal level, with the infamous 1857 slavery case of Dred Scott v. Sandford. Some advocates of substantive due process acknowledge that the doctrine was employed in Dred Scott, but argue that it was employed incorrectly.

The "vested rights" jurists saw in the "law of the land" and "due process" clauses of state constitutions restrictions on the substantive content of legislation. Those jurists were sometimes successful in arguing that certain government infringements were prohibited, regardless of procedure. For example, the New York Court of Appeals held in Wynehamer v. New York that "without 'due process of law,' no act of legislation can deprive a man of his property, and that in civil cases an act of the legislature alone is wholly inoperative to take from a man his property."[34] However, the rationale of Wynehamer was subsequently rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.[35] Other antebellum cases on due process include Murray v. Hoboken Land, which dealt with procedural due process.[22] But, the rationale of Murray was subsequently characterized by the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Hurtado v. California, as not providing "an indispensable test" of due process.[9]

Another important pre-Civil-War milestone in the history of due process was Daniel Webster's argument as counsel in Dartmouth College v. Woodward, that the Due Process Clause forbids bills of attainder and various other types of bad legislation.[36] Nevertheless, the U.S. Supreme Court declined in the Dartmouth case to address that aspect of Webster's argument, the New Hampshire Supreme Court had already rejected it,[37] and the U.S. Supreme Court would later contradict Webster's rationale.[38]

Given the preceding jurisprudence regarding due process, Chief Justice Taney was not entirely breaking ground in his Dred Scott opinion when, without elaboration, he pronounced the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional because an "act of Congress that deprived a citizen of his liberty or property merely because he came himself or brought his property into a particular territory of the United States, and who had committed no offence against the laws, could hardly be dignified with the name of due process of law." In Dred Scott, neither Taney nor dissenting Justice Curtis mentioned or relied upon the Court's previous discussion of due process in Murray, and Curtis disagreed with Taney about what "due process" meant in Dred Scott.

The phrase substantive due process was not used until the twentieth century. But, the concept was arguably employed during the nineteenth century.

Following the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause prompted substantive due process interpretations to be urged on the Supreme Court as a limitation on state legislation. Initially, however, the Supreme Court rejected substantive due process as it came to be understood, including in the watershed Slaughter-House Cases. Some of those arguments came to be accepted by the Court over time, imposing on both federal and state legislation a firm judicial hand on property and economic rights that was not removed until the crisis of the 1930s.

Because many of the first applications protected the rights of corporations and employers to be free of governmental regulation, it has been charged that substantive due process developed as a consequence of the Court's desire to accommodate 19th-century railroads and trusts. Although "economic due process" restrictions on legislation were largely abandoned by the courts, substantive due process rights continue to be successfully asserted today in non-economic legislation affecting intimate issues like bodily integrity, marriage, religion, childbirth, child rearing, and sexuality.

Privacy, which is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, was at issue in Griswold v. Connecticut, wherein the Court held that criminal prohibition of contraceptive devices for married couples violated federal, judicially enforceable privacy rights. The right to contraceptives was found in what the Court called the "penumbras", or shadowy edges, of certain amendments that arguably refer to certain privacy rights, such as the First Amendment (protecting freedom of expression), Third Amendment (protecting homes from being used by soldiers), and Fourth Amendment (security against unreasonable searches). The penumbra-based rationale of Griswold has since been discarded; the Supreme Court now uses the Due Process Clause as a basis for various unenumerated privacy rights, as Justice Harlan had argued in his concurring Griswold opinion, instead of relying on the "penumbras" and "emanations" of the Bill of Rights as the majority opinion did in Griswold. Although it has never been the majority view, some have argued that the Ninth Amendment (addressing unenumerated rights) could be used as a source of fundamental judicially enforceable rights, including a general right to privacy, as discussed by Justice Goldberg concurring in Griswold.[39]

Social conservatives who reject sexual privacy rights, or who believe that those rights are properly subject to the democratic process absent further constitutional amendment, can nevertheless perhaps find some things to like in the line of substantive due process decisions. For example, religious parents persuaded the Supreme Court to recognize a substantive due process right "to control the education of one's children" and void state laws mandating that all students attend public school. In Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the Supreme Court said:[40]

We think it entirely plain that the Act of 1922 unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. As often heretofore pointed out, rights guaranteed by the Constitution may not be abridged by legislation which has no reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the state. The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only.

Thus, if the entire substantive due process line was reversed, it is conceivable that religious parents' option of home schooling or private schooling might be in danger from some state universal education laws, although it is also possible that those laws might be deemed to violate "First Amendment principles", as Justice Kennedy speculated in Troxel v. Granville.[32] Current Supreme Court doctrine prohibits the judiciary from using the Due Process Clause instead of an applicable specific constitutional provision when one is available.[41]

The right to marry a person of a different race was addressed in Loving v. Virginia,[42] in which the Court said that its decision striking down anti-miscegenation laws could be justified either by substantive due process, or by the Equal Protection Clause. Advocates of substantive due process have sought to extend Loving in order to establish other rights (e.g. a right to gay marriage).[43] A right to have children was addressed in Skinner v. Oklahoma,[44] but the Court in Skinner explicitly declined to base its decision on due process, instead citing the Equal Protection Clause since the Oklahoma law required sterilization of some 3-time felons but not others. A substantive due process right of a parent to educate a young child (i.e. before ninth grade) in a foreign language was recognized in Meyer v. Nebraska, with two justices dissenting,[45] and Justice Kennedy has mentioned that Meyer might be decided on different grounds in modern times.[32] Laws that "shock the conscience" of the Court were generally deemed unconstitutional in Rochin v. California, though concurring Justices Black and Douglas argued that pumping a defendant's stomach for evidence should have been deemed unconstitutional on the narrower ground that it violates the Fifth Amendment's ban on self-incrimination.[46] The Court in O'Connor v. Donaldson[47] said that due process is violated by confining a non-dangerous mentally ill person who is capable of surviving safely in freedom, and Chief Justice Burger's concurring opinion noted that such confinement may also amount to "punishment" for being mentally ill, in violation of the interpretation of the Eighth Amendment in Robinson v. California. Freedom from excessive punitive damages was deemed to be a due process right in BMW v. Gore, though four justices disagreed.[48] The Court in Cruzan v. Missouri decided that due process is not violated when a state applies "a clear and convincing evidence standard in proceedings where a guardian seeks to discontinue nutrition and hydration of a person diagnosed to be in a persistent vegetative state."[49]

[edit] Criticisms of substantive due process

Criticisms of the doctrine continue as in the past. Critics argue that judges are making determinations of policy and morality that properly belong with legislators (i.e. "legislating from the bench"), or argue that judges are reading views into the Constitution that are not really implied by the document, or argue that judges are claiming power to expand the liberty of some people at the expense of other people's liberty (e.g. as in the Dred Scott case), or argue that judges are addressing substance instead of process.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a realist, worried that the Court was overstepping its boundaries, and the following is from one of his last dissents:[50]

I have not yet adequately expressed the more than anxiety that I feel at the ever increasing scope given to the Fourteenth Amendment in cutting down what I believe to be the constitutional rights of the States. As the decisions now stand, I see hardly any limit but the sky to the invalidating of those rights if they happen to strike a majority of this Court as for any reason undesirable. I cannot believe that the Amendment was intended to give us carte blanche to embody our economic or moral beliefs in its prohibitions. Yet I can think of no narrower reason that seems to me to justify the present and the earlier decisions to which I have referred. Of course the words due process of law, if taken in their literal meaning, have no application to this case; and while it is too late to deny that they have been given a much more extended and artificial signification, still we ought to remember the great caution shown by the Constitution in limiting the power of the States, and should be slow to construe the clause in the Fourteenth Amendment as committing to the Court, with no guide but the Court's own discretion, the validity of whatever laws the States may pass.

Originalists, such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who rejects substantive due process doctrine, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who has also questioned the legitimacy of the doctrine, call substantive due process a "judicial usurpation"[51] or an "oxymoron."[52] Both Scalia and Thomas have occasionally joined Court opinions that mention the doctrine, and have in their dissents often argued over how substantive due process should be employed based on Court precedent. In other words, the main debate in recent decades within the Court over substantive due process seems to have been more about where to apply it, and less about whether it should be applied at all.

Many non-originalists, like Justice Byron White, have also been critical of substantive due process. As propounded in his dissents in Moore v. East Cleveland[53] and Roe v. Wade, as well as his majority opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick, White argued that the doctrine of substantive due process gives the judiciary too much power over the governance of the nation and takes away such power from the elected branches of government. He argued that the fact that the Court has created new substantive rights in the past should not lead it to "repeat the process at will." In his book Democracy and Distrust, non-originalist John Hart Ely criticized "substantive due process" as a glaring non-sequitur. Ely argued the phrase was a contradiction-in-terms, like the phrase green pastel redness, and was radically undemocratic because it allowed judges to impose substantive values on the political process. Ely argued that the courts should serve to reinforce the democratic process, not to displace the substantive value choices of the people's elected representatives.

The current majority view of the Supreme Court supports substantive due process rights in a number of areas. An alternative to strict originalist theory is advocated by Supreme Court Justice Breyer, one of the Court's supporters of substantive due process rights. Breyer believes the justices need to look at cases in light of how their decisions will promote what he calls "active liberty", the Constitution's aim of promoting participation by citizens in the processes of government. That is an approach that ostensibly emphasizes "the document's underlying values" and looking broadly at a law's purpose and consequences. However, such an approach would also give judges the ability to look very broadly at the consequences and unwritten purpose of constitutional provisions, such as the Due Process Clause, and thereby remove issues from the democratic process.

Originalism is usually linked to opposition against substantive due process rights, and the reasons for that can be found in the following explanation that was endorsed unanimously by the Supreme Court in a 1985 case: "[W]e must always bear in mind that the substantive content of the [Due Process] Clause is suggested neither by its language nor by preconstitutional history; that content is nothing more than the accumulated product of judicial interpretation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments."[54]

Originalists do not necessarily oppose protection of the rights heretofore protected using substantive due process, and instead most originalists believe that such rights should be identified and protected legislatively, or via further constitutional amendments, or via other existing provisions of the Constitution. For example, some substantive due process liberties may be protectable according to the original meaning of the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Most originalists believe that rights should be identified and protected by the majority, either legislatively, or (where the legislature lacks the power) via constitutional amendments.

The perceived scope of the Due Process Clause was originally different than it is today. For instance, even though many of the Framers of the Bill of Rights believed that slavery violated the fundamental natural rights of African-Americans, a "theory that declared slavery to be a violation of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.... requires nothing more than a suspension of reason concerning the origin, intent, and past interpretation of the clause."[55] The Thirteenth Amendment ultimately abolished slavery, and removed the federal judiciary from the business of returning fugitive slaves. But until then, it was "scarcely questioned" (as Abraham Lincoln put it) that the Constitution "was intended by those who made it, for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the law-giver is the law."[56]

[edit] Judicial review of substantive due process violations

When a law or other act of government is challenged as a violation of individual liberty under the Due Process Clause, courts nowadays primarily use two forms of scrutiny, or judicial review. This inquiry balances the importance of the governmental interest being served and the appropriateness of the government's method of implementation against the resulting infringement of individual rights. If the governmental action infringes upon a fundamental right, the highest level of review—strict scrutiny—is used.[57] In order to pass strict scrutiny review, the law or act must be narrowly tailored to further a compelling government interest.

When the governmental restriction restricts liberty in a manner that does not implicate a fundamental right, rational basis review is used. Here a legitimate government interest is enough to pass this review. This means that the government's goal must simply be something that it is acceptable for the government to pursue. The means used by the legislation only have to be reasonable for getting to the government's goals; they need not be the best. Under a rational basis test, the burden of proof is on the challenger. Thus it is rare that laws are overturned after a rational basis test, although this is not unheard of.[58]

There is also a middle level of scrutiny, called intermediate scrutiny, but it is primarily used in Equal Protection cases rather than in Due Process cases: “The standards of intermediate scrutiny have yet to make an appearance in a due process case.”[59]

[edit] Incorporation of the Bill of Rights into due process

Incorporation is the legal doctrine by which the Bill of Rights, either in full or in part, is applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. Incorporation started in 1897 with a takings case,[60] continued with Gitlow v. New York (1925) which was a First Amendment case, and accelerated in the 1940s and 1950s. Justice Hugo Black famously favored the jot-for-jot incorporation of the entire Bill of Rights. Justice Felix Frankfurter, however—joined later by Justice John M. Harlan—felt that the federal courts should only apply those sections of the Bill of Rights that were "fundemantal to a scheme of ordered liberty". It was the latter course that the Warren Court of the 1960s took, although, almost all of the Bill of Rights has now been incorporated jot-for-jot against the states.

The basis for incorporation is substantive due process regarding enumerated substantive rights, and procedural due process regarding enumerated procedural rights.[61] The role of the incorporation doctrine in applying the guarantees of the Bill of Rights to the states is just as notable as the use of due process to define new fundamental rights that are not explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution's text. In both cases, the question has been whether the right asserted is "fundamental", so that, just as not all proposed "new" constitutional rights are afforded judicial recognition, not all provisions of the Bill of Rights have been deemed sufficiently fundamental to warrant enforcement against the states.

Some people, such as Justice Black, have argued that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment would be a more appropriate textual source for the incorporation doctrine. The Court has not taken that course, and some point to the treatment given to the Privileges or Immunities Clause in the 1873 Slaughterhouse Cases as a reason why. Although, the Slaughterhouse Court did not expressly preclude application of the Bill of Rights to the states, the Clause largely ceased to be invoked in opinions of the Court following the Slaughterhouse Cases, and when incorporation did begin, it was under the rubric of due process. Scholars who share Justice Black's view, such as Akhil Amar, argue that the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment, like Senator Jacob Howard and Congressman John Bingham, included a Due Process Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment for the following reason: "By incorporating the rights of the Fifth Amendment, the privileges or immunities clause would...have prevented states from depriving 'citizens' of due process. Bingham, Howard, and company wanted to go even further by extending the benefits of state due process to aliens."[62]

The Supreme Court has consistently held that Fifth Amendment due process means substantially the same as Fourteenth Amendment due process,[63] and therefore the original meaning of the former is relevant to the incorporation doctrine of the latter. When the Bill of Rights was originally proposed by Congress in 1789 to the states, various substantive and procedural rights were "classed according to their affinity to each other" instead of being submitted to the states "as a single act to be adopted or rejected in the gross," as James Madison put it.[64] Roger Sherman explained in 1789 that each amendment "may be passed upon distinctly by the States, and any one that is adopted by three fourths of the legislatures may become a part of the Constitution."[65] Thus, the states were allowed to reject the Sixth Amendment, for example, while ratifying all of the other amendments including the Due Process Clause; in that case, the rights in the Sixth Amendment would not have been incorporated against the federal government. The doctrine of incorporating the content of other amendments into “due process” was thus an innovation, when it began in 1925 with the Gitlow case, and this doctrine remains controversial today.

[edit] International due process

Various countries recognize some form of due process under customary international law. Although the specifics are often unclear, most nations agree that they should guarantee foreign visitors a basic minimum level of justice and fairness. Some nations have argued that they are bound to grant no more rights to aliens than they do to their own citizens—the doctrine of national treatment—which also means that both would be vulnerable to the same deprivations by the government. With the growth of international human rights law and the frequent use of treaties to govern treatment of foreign nationals abroad, the distinction in practice between these two perspectives may be disappearing.

[edit] References

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b The Text of Magna Carta (1215)
  2. ^ McKechnie, William Sharp (1905). Magna Carta: A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John. Glasgow: Robert MacLehose and Co., Ltd.. pp. 136–37. http://books.google.com/books?id=RCWIAAAAMAAJ. : "The question must be considered an open one; but much might be said in favour of the opinion that 'freeman' as used in the Charter is synonymous with 'freeholder'...."
  3. ^ The Text of Magna Carta (1297)
  4. ^ 28 Edw. 3, c. 3
  5. ^ 2 Institutes of the Laws of England 46 (1608)
  6. ^ a b Regina v. Paty, 92 Eng. Rep. 232, 234 (1704) reprinted in Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas: In the Reigns of the Late King William, Queen Anne, King George the First, and King George the Second, Volume 2, page 1105, 1108 (1792).
  7. ^ Dudley Julius Medley, A Student's Manual of English Constitutional History 613 (1902)
  8. ^ George Godfrey Cunningham,4 Lives of Eminent and Illustrious Englishmen 54 (1835)
  9. ^ a b Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516 (1884)
  10. ^ John V. Orth, Due Process of Law: A Brief History (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2003), 30-31.
  11. ^ Orth, 28-30.
  12. ^ Orth, 29.
  13. ^ Geoffrey Marshall, "Due Process in England", in Nomos XVIII: Due Process, eds. J. Roland Pennock & John W. Chapman, 69-92 (New York: New York University Press, 1977), 69.
  14. ^ Marshall, 69.
  15. ^ Marshall, 69-70.
  16. ^ Constitution of Maryland (1776)
  17. ^ a b New York Bill of Rights (1787)
  18. ^ Alexander Hamilton, Remarks on an Act for Regulating Elections, New York Assembly (6 February 1787)
  19. ^ New York Ratification Resolution (1788)
  20. ^ a b Madison Speech (1789)
  21. ^ Malinski v. New York, 324 U.S. 401, 415 (1945), (Frankfurter, J., concurring)
  22. ^ a b c Murray v. Hoboken Land, 59 U.S. 272 (1855)
  23. ^ Chapman v. California, 386 U.S. 18, 22 (1967).
  24. ^ Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004) quoting In re Winship, 397 U.S. 507, 382 (1970), (Black, J., dissenting)
  25. ^ Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993): "We have, of course, held that the Eighth Amendment requires increased reliability of the process by which capital punishment may be imposed."
  26. ^ Snyder v. Massachusetts, 291 U.S. 97, 105 (1934)
  27. ^ a b c d e White, G. Edward (2000). The Constitution and the New Deal. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 244-46. 
  28. ^ White, G. Edward (2000). The Constitution and the New Deal. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 256-61. 
  29. ^ White, G. Edward (2000). The Constitution and the New Deal. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 262-63. 
  30. ^ Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319 (1937)
  31. ^ Hawkins, Bryan (2006). "The Glucksberg Renaissance: Substantive Due Process since Lawrence v. Texas". Michigan Law Review: 409, 412. http://students.law.umich.edu/mlr/archive/105/2/hawkins.pdf. 
  32. ^ a b c Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65 (2000), (Kennedy, J., dissenting): "Pierce and Meyer, had they been decided in recent times, may well have been grounded upon First Amendment principles protecting freedom of speech, belief, and religion."
  33. ^ Williams, George. “The Federal Parliament and the Protection of Human Rights”, Research Paper 20 1998-99, Parliament of Australia (1999): “nations that had relied upon the common law tradition to protect rights…have subsequently passed statutory Bills of Rights. For example, the United Kingdom Parliament has enacted the Human Rights Act 1998 (UK), while the New Zealand Legislature has passed the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.... Parliament might move to protect a few core rights that are obviously regarded as basic and fundamental to Australian democracy. This should not include rights such as ‘due process of law’ in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, which has a highly developed meaning in the United States context but no resonance in Australia.”
  34. ^ Wynehamer v. New York, 13 N.Y. 378, 418 (N.Y. 1856)
  35. ^ Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623 (1887), at 657, 669.
  36. ^ Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518 (1819). Webster argued to the Supreme Court as follows: "The meaning [of the phrase 'law of the land'] is, that every citizen shall hold his life, liberty, property and immunities, under the protection of the general rules which govern society. Everything which may pass under the form of an enactment, is not, therefore, to be considered the law of the land. If this were so, acts of attainder, bills of pains and penalties, acts of confiscation, acts reversing judgments, and acts directly transferring one man's estate to another, legislative judgments, decrees and forfeitures, in all possible forms, would be the law of the land."
  37. ^ Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 1 N. H. 111, 129 (1817): "[H]ow a privilege can be protected from the operation of a law of the land, by a clause in the [state] constitution, declaring that it shall not be taken away, but by the law of the land, is not very easily understood."
  38. ^ Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516 (1884): "[B]ills of attainder, ex post facto laws, laws declaring forfeitures of estates, and other arbitrary acts of legislation which occur so frequently in English history, were never regarded as inconsistent with the law of the land."
  39. ^ Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965): “I do not mean to imply that the .... Ninth Amendment constitutes an independent source of rights protected from infringement by either the States or the Federal Government.”
  40. ^ Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925)
  41. ^ Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989). Also see United States v. Lanier, 520 U.S. 259 (1997): “Graham simply requires that if a constitutional claim is covered by a specific constitutional provision, such as the Fourth or Eighth Amendment, the claim must be analyzed under the standard appropriate to that specific provision, not under the rubric of substantive due process.”
  42. ^ Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)
  43. ^ Lis Wiehl, “Protecting Marriage — The Next Battle”, Fox News.
  44. ^ Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535 (1942)
  45. ^ Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923). The dissents of Holmes and Sutherland can be found in the companion case of Bartels v. Iowa, 262 U.S. 404 (1923).
  46. ^ Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165 (1952)
  47. ^ O'Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563 (1975)
  48. ^ BMW v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559 (1996)
  49. ^ Cruzan v. Missouri, 497 U.S. 261 (1990)
  50. ^ Baldwin v. Missouri, 281 U.S. 586, 595 (1930)
  51. ^ Chicago v. Morales, 527 U.S. 41 (1999), (Scalia, J., dissenting)
  52. ^ U.S. v. Carlton 512 U.S. 26 (1994), (Scalia, J., concurring)
  53. ^ Moore v. East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494, 543 (1977), (White, J., dissenting).
  54. ^ University of Michigan v. Ewing, 474 U.S. 214 (1985) quoting Moore v. East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494, 543 (1977) (White, J., dissenting).
  55. ^ Robert Cover, Justice Accused 157 (Yale Univ. Press 1975)
  56. ^ Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address (Mar. 4, 1861)
  57. ^ See, e.g., Adarand Constructors v. Peña, 515 U.S. 200 (1995); Sugarman v. Dougall, 413 U.S. 634 (1973); Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963).
  58. ^ See, e.g., Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996); City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, Inc., 473 U.S. 432 (1985); Zobel v. Williams, 457 U.S. 55 (1982); United States Department of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528 (1973).
  59. ^ Shaman, Jeffrey. [1] Constitutional Interpretation: Illusion and Reality] (Greenwood 2001).
  60. ^ Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway Co. v. Chicago, 205 U.S. 530 (1897)
  61. ^ Congressional Research Service, Fourteenth Amendment: Rights Guaranteed: Procedural Due Process: Criminal: “practically all the criminal procedural guarantees of the Bill of Rights--the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments--contain limitations which are fundamental to state criminal justice systems and that the absence of one or the other particular guarantees denies a suspect or a defendant due process of law.”
  62. ^ Amar, Akhil (1992). "The Bill of Rights and the Constitution". Yale Law Journal (New Haven: The Yale Law Journal Company) 101: 1193. http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Amar1.html. 
  63. ^ Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516 (1884): "when the same phrase was employed ... it was used in the same sense and with no greater extent."
  64. ^ Letter from James Madison to Alexander White (Aug. 24, 1789)
  65. ^ Letter from Roger Sherman to Simeon Baldwin (Aug. 22, 1789).

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