Due Process is the foundation of the American legal system. Without it, we wouldn’t be a country.
The bedrock upon which this republic was built is the rule of law and due process.
Our Founding Fathers were rebelling against a King and legislature that prevented them from receiving a fair trial and locking them up without cause.
The Declaration of Independence is most famous for Jefferson’s rhetorical flourishes, but if you want to understand why America came into existence, you need to read the laundry list of complaints that the colonists had for declaring independence.
Jefferson introduced the list portion by writing: “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.”
Many of the justifications were undergirded by a lack of due process.
A few are worth quoting here.
The Declaration declared that the king “Obstructed the administration of justice by refusing his assent of laws for establishing judiciary powers…For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of trial by jury…for protecting them, by a mock trial from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states.”
Unfortunately, many in the country no longer abide by the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.
The rush to convict someone in the court of public opinion is more important than the principles enshrined in the Constitution.
The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments lay out the proper course of action to be taken to ensure equal justice under the law.
The Fourth Amendment bars the government from unreasonable search and seizures of an individual or their property.
The Fifth Amendment provides several protections for people accused of crimes. It states that serious criminal charges must be started by a grand jury. A person cannot be tried twice for the same offense (double jeopardy) or have property taken away without just compensation. People have the right against self-incrimination and cannot be imprisoned without due process of law (fair procedures and trials.)
The Sixth Amendment provides additional protections to people accused of crimes, such as the right to a speedy trial, trial by an impartial jury in criminal cases, and to be informed of criminal charges. Witnesses must face the accused, and the accused is allowed his or her own witnesses and to be represented by a lawyer.
The Eighth Amendment bars excessive bail and fines and cruel or unusual punishment.
However, if you take a look at how the media has been handling cases recently, you would think that these Amendments never even existed.
Several high-profile stories have completely thrown out the burden of proof.
Robert Mueller stated that if he had found evidence to exonerate President Trump on obstruction of justice charges he would have said so. That is completely turning the Constitution on its head.
It is not Mueller’s job—or any other government prosecutor’s job—to exonerate anyone. The burden of proof is on the accuser, not the accused. A jury is supposed to decide if there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed a crime.
Mueller put the burden of proof on Trump without giving him a chance to defend himself from charges that were never filed but are now on the public record.
It was a gutless move.
Last year, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was accused of rape during his confirmation hearings. The media jumped to conclusions and declared him guilty without giving him a chance to defend himself.
The evidence clearly showed that he was innocent and that his accuser was lying. However, the #Metoo movement has proclaimed that “all women should be believed.”
That is an anti-American statement. A man accused of rape should be allowed to defend himself and evidence should be submitted to prove his guilt before he is deemed to be guilty of a horrific crime.
Education Secretary Betsy Devos took a lot of heat for changing the rules regarding rape accusations on college campuses.
Under the Obama administration, a male college student accused of rape could have had his name and reputation destroyed without being able to properly defend himself against the accusation.
Secretary Devos was simply re-instituting proper constitutional procedures. However, she was accused of supporting rapists and even had a man openly wishing for her to be raped herself.
That is the sad state of due process in this country today.
If we don’t teach our kids what it means to be an American and that they are entitled to certain inalienable rights, then our country is in peril and we may lose this once great republic.
For those that love liberty, it is our duty to stand for justice and the rule of law.