Constitutional Law Topics

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Unit 9: Tiers of Rights

Crystal Morgan
Constitutional Law, LS 305-02
Professor Solomon
September 29, 2010
The Constitution of the United States of America is known as the supreme law of the land. Within these historic pages, even in our modern times, is a section known as the Bill of Rights, which explains each of our freedoms. Every freedom is important and these freedoms have not been subtracted from but added to as time progressed. A couple of rights have “aged out,” which simply means that with modern progress they are not applicable anymore. But without the Fourteenth Amendment giving us the right to due process and equal protection of the laws, we would be left without a recourse for redress from losses resulting from violations of other freedoms. The right to due process of the law and equal enforcement of the law is the enforcer right of them all.

The due process clause and equal protection clause, is found in the Fourteenth Amendment, which states, “[No State shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” These words were first applied in the Fifth Amendment but this was limited, applying to only the Federal government, not the States. The Fourteenth Amendment was created in 1868 to expand the Fifth Amendment, including the States, government agencies, and the courts. As these concepts are applied to the court setting, it means that a person shall receive a fair and impartial hearing among other rights, as well as equal application of said laws regardless of the person’s race, sex, disability, etc…

There are two types of due process: procedural and substantive. According to the U.S. Constitution Online, procedural is covers the “how” and substantive is the “why”. The how analyzes the laws that apply to the action and makes sure that they are clearly worded and narrowly defined. The why incorporates whether the law is...
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