What is DUE PROCESS OF LAW? Definition of DUE PROCESS OF LAW in Black's Law Dictionary – Legal dictionary – Glossary of legal terms.
Law in its regular courte of administration through courts of justice. 3 Story, Const. 264, 661. "Due process of law in each particular case means such an exercise of the powers of the 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." Cooley, Const. Lim. 441. Whatever difficulty may be experienced in giving to those terms a definition which will embrace every permissible exertion of power affecting private rights, and exclude such as is forbidden, there can be no doubt of their meaning when applied to judicial proceedings. They then mean a course of legal proceedings according to those rules and principles which have been established in our systems of jurisprudence for the enforcement and p .rotection of private rights. To give such proceedings any validity, there must be a tribunal competent by its constitution—that is, by the law of its creation—to pass upon the subject matter of the suit; and, if that involves merely a determination of the personal liability of the defendant, he must be brought within its jurisdiction by service of process within the state, or his voluntary appearance. Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 733, 24 L.Ed. 565. Due process of law implies the right of the person affected thereby to be present before the tribunal which pronounces judgment upon the question of life, liberty, or property, in its most comprehensive sense; to be heard, by testimony or otherwise, and to have the right of controverting, by proof, every material fact which bears on the question of right in the matter involved. If any question of fact or liability be conclusively presumed against him, this is not due process of law. Zeigler v. Railroad Co., 58 Ala. 599. These phrases in the constitution do not mean the general body of the law, common and statute, as it was at the time the constitution took effect; for that would seem to deny the right of the legislature to amend or repeal the law. They refer to certain fundamental rights, which that system of jurisprudence, of which ours is a derivative, has always recognized. Brown v. Levee Com'rs, 50 Miss. 468. "Due process of law," as used in the constitution, cannot mean less than a prosecution or suit instituted and conducted according to the prescribed forms and solemnities for ascertaining guilt, or determining the title to property. Embury v. Conner, 3 N.Y. 511, 517, 53 Am.Dec. 325. And see, generally, Davidson v. New Orleans, 96 U.S. 104, 24 L.Ed. 616.
"Law of the land," "due course of law," and "due process of law" are synonymous. People v. Skinner, Cal., 110 P.2d 41, 45; State v. Rossi, 71 R.I. 284, 43 A.2d 323, 326; Direct Plumbing Supply Co. v. City of Dayton, 138 Ohio St. 540, 38 N.E.2d 70, 72, 137 A.L.R. 1058; Stoner v. Higginson, 316 Pa. 481, 175 A. 527, 531. But "judicial process" and "judicial proceedings" are not necessarily synonymous with "due process." Pennsylvania Publications v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 152 Pa.Super. 279, 32 A.2d 40, 49; Barry v. Hall, 98 F.2d 222, 68 App.D.C. 350. The essential elements of "due process of law" are notice and opportunity to be heard and to defend in orderly proceeding adapted to nature of case, and the guarantee or due process requires that every man have protection of day in court and benefit of general law. Dimke v. Finke, 209 Minn. 29, 295 N.W. 75, 79; Di Maio v. Reid, 13 N.J.L. 17, 37 A.2d 829, 830. Daniel Webster defined this phrase to mean a law which hears before it condemns, which proceeds on inquiry and renders judgment only after trial. Wichita Council No. 120 of Security Ben. Ass'n v. Security Ben. Assn., 138 Kan. 841, 28 P.2d 976, 980, 94 A.L.R. 629; J. B. Barnes Drilling Co. v. Phillips, 166 Okla. 154, 26 P.2d 766. This constitutional guaranty demands only that law shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious, and that means selected shall have real and substantial relation to object. Nebbia v. People of State of New York, N.Y., 54 S.Ct. 505, 291 U.S. 502, 78 L.Ed. 940, 89 A.L.R. 1469; North American Co. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, C.C.A., 133 F.2d 148, 154.
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