Fourtheenth Amendnment Question

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The importance of the Fourteenth Amendment on expanding civil liberties to the citizens of the United States is paramount. The two main concepts found in the Fourteenth Amendment is “equal protection under the law” and “due process of the law.”  Explain these concepts.

May 3rd, 2015
Under Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to United States Constitution,  citizens are guaranteed 'due process' under the law and the term has same meaning in both. However, due process of law' has never been a term of fixed and invariable content. Neither federal or any of the state constitutions have made any attempt to define what is 'due process of the law.'

The term is not susceptible to an exact, precise, comprehensive, or concrete definition. Part of the grandeur of the concept is that it is too broad to admit of a short definition that embraces every situation, and that any definition must depend on the relation a particular act bears to the fundamental law that limits legislative power.

  Due process of law in each particular case means such an exertion of the powers of government as the settled maxims of law permit and sanction, and under such safeguards for the protection of individual rights as those maxims prescribe for the class of cases to which the one in question belongs. Where doubt exists, law and government are encumbered to come down on the side of individual liberty.

Due process is ensconced in such concepts as fair play, consistency, the right to a fair and impartial trial on the facts in a case, and other fundamental principles of liberty and justice that lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions. Equal protection for all citizens, as well as due process, is guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment. The concept of equal protection means that you should be treated the same as everyone else under all statutes, rules, and regulations.

Due process was so rudimentary to the systems of government proposed by our forefathers that it has been incorporated into the constitutions of all the states. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law."

Your rights under due process

1. You have the right to receive notice of charges in a timely fashion.

2. You have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

3. You have the right to be presented with a search warrant. Without one, it is unlawful for the police or any government official to enter your home, search, or seize your property.

4. You have the right to be presented with a warrant for your arrest unless the police actually saw you commit a crime or have probable cause to believe you have committed a felony based on their personal investigation at the scene.

5. You have the right to a writ of habeas corpus if you are arrested and imprisoned.

6. You have the right to remain silent and speak with an attorney before making any statement to the authorities.

7. You have the right to confront your accuser and to cross-examine witnesses against you.

8. You have the right to refuse to answer questions that might incriminate you.

9. You have the right to a transcript of all proceedings, hearings, and trials though you will have to order and pay for them.

10. You have the right to appeal any findings of a lower court.

11. You have the right to subpoena witnesses and any documents or other evidence that may support your position or contradict evidence presented against you.

12. You have a right to a trial by jury in all criminal matters and in civil cases where the value in question exceeds $20 by an impartial jury of your peers.

13. You have the right to the protection and provisions of the Constitution of the United States and the State Constitution.

14. You have the right to protections expressly created in statute and case law precedent.

15. You have the right to equal protection of the law regardless of race, creed, color, religion, ethnic origin, age, handicaps, or sex.

16. You have the right to a remedy, by recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs that you may receive in your person, property, or character.

17. You have the right to justice, without being obliged to purchase it; completely, and without any denial; promptly, and without undue delay; in conformance with the laws.

May 3rd, 2015

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