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Understanding the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses in the US Constitution

The US constitution makes it mandatory for lawmakers to grant citizens basic rights to life, property, and liberty! If either the federal or the state government fails to provide these rights, they have not been true to their civic duty.

The two clauses from the US Constitution that we will discuss today are the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. Here’s what they mean for your rights:

Understanding the clauses

The Fifth Amendment’s Due Process clause asks the government of the USA to provide equal protection to all its citizens. At the same time, the Fourteenth Amendment in the Equal Protection clause demands that individual states practice equal protection at all levels.

The term ‘equal protection’ stands for impartial governance, i.e., the practice of not drawing any distinctions between citizens if their differences have nothing to do with a certain government objective.

The purpose is to protect and promote civil rights and make sure that government policies don’t reflect any bias and partial behavior.

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Why is this important?

You have every right to file a lawsuit against a governmental body and ask for compensation if you feel like your equal civil rights have been violated in any way. This applies to when a discriminatory action is taken by the alleged government body. The court will then scrutinize the government body’s action to decide whether or not the claim holds water.

The clause, in particular, applies to criminal prosecutions—both federal and state-level.

The due process can be both substantive and procedural. Substantive refers to when your right to speak freely has been curtailed unfairly. On the other hand, procedural due process is when you’re punished for a crime without notice. The clause also applies if you were criminally punished without being heard or being given the option to go through atrial.

Both of these processes make sure that the defendant is not denied the right to life, liberty, or property. If you’ve been sentenced to capital punishment without prior notice, it’s a violation of your right to live.

If you’ve been incarcerated unconstitutionally, your liberty has been taken away. If forfeiture results in confiscation of your property arbitrarily, the act is, again, unconstitutional.

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