What is Due Process?
This answer is from a Yahoo chat board about a decade ago. A person named “Eric” (not me) wrote this. It’s very thoughtful and concise. Please thank him if you can figure out how.
…I assume you are talking about due process under the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Federal Constitution.
The Due Process clause is possibly the most important Constitutional right in the United States. It is the fail-safe right that guarantees all of the other rights (for example, how do you have freedom of speech if you don’t have a means to challenge censorship?).
From a practical standpoint, due process means that any government action against a person must provide some opportunity to challenge the action.
Due process is rooted in a concept of fundamental fairness. If the government wants to do something against you, fundamental fairness requires that you have the opportunity to defend yourself.
Due process binds all governmental action. The courts are the easiest example, but it also binds all administrative functions as well. For example, if the government decides that it is going to deny your claim for Social Security Disability benefits, you are entitled to some sort of hearing to challenge that denial.