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Due Process




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Due Process means fair treatment by a system of laws or legal apparatus. People have the right to due process before being deprived of “rights” in the criminal or civil justice systems.

The two due process clauses in the Constitution, in the fifth and 14th amendments, have been interpreted to bestow a series of rights. Under a century of Supreme Court case law, due process includes two elements:

“Substantive” due process requires that the government show sufficient justification before passing or enforcing laws that infringe on people’s freedoms. The more important the right being infringed on, the greater justification the government must show.

“Procedural” due process is the right to a fair opportunity to defend against a proposed action to punish or to take away property. Noncriminal applications of procedural due process include, for example, the right to a fair hearing before government benefits are denied or terminated.