The 14th Amendment and due process are very closely connected, as the 14th Amendment contains a due process clause requiring states to provide due process to their residents. The Fifth Amendment also contains a discussion of due process, at the more general federal level. The protections provided by the 14th Amendment to citizens are relied upon every day in a wide variety of settings, from courts of law to classrooms, and this amendment to the Constitution of the United States plays an important role in the American legal landscape.
Understanding the connection between the 14th Amendment and due process, civil rights, and citizenship issues is important for legal scholars, as well as some practicing lawyers. This amendment has been used in court to argue civil rights cases, challenge outcomes in criminal trials, and in many other types of cases.
The 14th Amendment is one of a group of amendments passed after the Civil War and known as the reconstruction amendments, addressing social and political issues that arose during reconstruction. There are five sections in this amendment and the first spells out a number of important legal concepts, including extending citizenship to all people born in the United States, mandating due process on a state level, and providing people with access to equal protection under the law. The 14th Amendment and due process are a reflection of changing social attitudes in the United States and a desire to increase protections for Americans.
Due process requires the government to follow clearly established guidelines when initiating legal proceedings with the potential to deprive people of liberty and take away property. In addition, it also covers the ultimate deprivation of liberty, death in capital punishment cases. The Fifth and 14th Amendments both address due process with the goal of ensuring that all people in the United States have access to due process of law. With the 14th Amendment and due process, one specific purpose was forcing states to extend due process to former slaves, offering civil rights to a historically marginalized population.
People deprived of due process during legal proceedings taking place in their states can turn to the 14th Amendment and due process to show that the actions of the state are unconstitutional and cannot be upheld. This can be used to reverse legal decisions in appellate court by demonstrating that due process was not followed. Due process involves both procedural due process, whether things are carried out appropriately and within the bounds of the law, and substantive due process, whether actions can be considered fair and reasonable, even if they are performed legally. Thus, a law banning home ownership for Canadian-Americans can be passed legally by a state legislature, but struck down on the grounds that it is clearly discriminatory, and thus violates substantive due process.