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Due Process and Equal Protection

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Presentation on theme: "Due Process and Equal Protection"— Presentation transcript:

1 Due Process and Equal Protection

2 Due Process – Meaning All legal proceedings will be fair. The government cannot interfere with a citizen’s right to life, liberty or property as guaranteed by the 5th and 14th Amendments. Every citizen has the right to adequate warning of legal proceedings and a right to a speedy trial or to be heard before a court.

3 Procedural Due Process
Any proceedings brought on against a citizen must be in accordance with the rules of law – e.g. governing bodies must follow the procedures in place to bring about any type of legal action. The government cannot act in violation of a citizen’s right to life, liberty, or property – e.g. ensures fairness. E.g. – Goldberg v. Kelly (1970) – Kelly, along with other New York City welfare recipients, sued Goldberg, the head of the welfare payment department, for violating procedural due process when benefits were cut without warning. One appeal, the court ruled that welfare benefits were a property right and required a hearing prior to the termination of aid. "Procedural" rights are special rights that dictate how the government can lawfully go about taking away a person’s freedom or property or life, when the law otherwise gives them the power to do so.

4 Substantive Due process
Prohibits the government from infringing on fundamental constitutional liberties, such as the right to life, liberty, property, and privacy. "Substantive" rights are those general rights that reserve to the individual the power to possess or to do certain things, despite the government’s desire to the contrary. These are rights like freedom of speech and religion. e.g. Roe v. Wade (1973) Roe, an unmarried Texas woman, wanted to abort her unborn child. Under Texas law, abortion was a felony unless the abortion was a medical necessity and only in cases where the mother’s life was in jeopardy. Roe sued Wade, then district attorney, claiming that the law was a violation of her right to privacy. The Court found that the law did unduly infringe on Roe’s right to privacy and declared the law unconstitutional.

5 Summary – procedural and substantive due process
Procedural due process deals with the way things are done, like protecting citizens from having benefits they are entitled to terminated without notice. Substantive due process applies to basic right of citizens under the Amendments, like prohibiting government involvement in a woman’s right to choose abortion.

6 5th Amendment Due process clause
No citizen can be forced to answer a crime without formal charges. No citizen can be charged with the same crime twice – “double jeopardy.” No citizen can be forced to self-incriminate. No citizen can be deprived of life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness without due process. No citizen shall have his private property taken for public use.

7 5th Amendment Continued…
If a person was to commit a crime, he must be formally charged and has a right to answer the charge. Once convicted, one cannot be re-tried for the same crime. During the process of arrest or trial, no citizen can be forced to testify against himself. Due process is mandatory and must be extended to all people. e.g. – The police cannot imprison a person without formal charges, an indictment or a conviction. The indictment or conviction is the due process. e.g. The government cannot take a person’s possession at will and for no reason without paying him back – e.g. eminent domain – government may take property for a public purpose, but must pay fair value of the property.

8 14th Amendment Due Process
Any person born in the United States has a right to citizenship. No citizen can be deprived of life, liberty and property without due process. All citizens are guaranteed equal protection. Due process means that no person can be held against their own will, be stripped of their rights to enjoy life and possessions or be discriminated against.

9 Equal protection clause
The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. In other words, the laws of a state must treat an individual in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances. e.g. A violation would occur, for example, if a state prohibited an individual from entering into an employment contract because he or she was a member of a particular race.

10 Equal protection clause continued…
The equal protection clause is not intended to provide "equality" among individuals or classes but only "equal application" of the laws. The result, therefore, of a law is not relevant so long as there is no discrimination in its application. By denying states the ability to discriminate, the equal protection clause of the Constitution is crucial to the protection of civil rights. The question of whether the equal protection clause has been violated arises when a state grants a particular class of individuals the right to engage in an activity yet denies other individuals the same right. There is no clear rule for deciding when a classification is unconstitutional.

11 Equal protection tests
The Supreme Court has dictated the application of different tests depending on the type of classification and its effect on fundamental rights. Traditionally, the Court finds a state classification constitutional if it has "a rational basis" to a "legitimate state purpose." There is a “strict scrutiny” test when an act or law involves “suspect classifications.” In order for a classification to be subject to strict scrutiny, it must be shown that the state law or its administration is meant to discriminate. Usually, if a purpose to discriminate is found the classification will be strictly scrutinized if it is based on race, national origin, or, in some situations, non U.S. citizenship (the suspect classes). In order for a classification to be found permissible under this test it must be proven, by the state, that there is a compelling interest to the law and that the classification is necessary to further that interest.

12 Tests continued… The Court will also apply a strict scrutiny test if the classification interferes with fundamental rights such as first amendment rights, the right to privacy, or the right to travel. The Supreme Court also requires states to show more than a rational basis (though it does not apply the strictly scrutiny test) for classifications based on gender or a child's status as illegitimate.

13 Purpose of the Equal Protection Clause
The purpose of the equal protection clause is to protect all citizens against discrimination and grant that all citizens be treated equal. e.g. Brown v. Board of Education (1954) – segregation of schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886) – the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment apply to non-citizens as well as citizens.

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