What is Due Process? It’s possibly the most important Constitutional right in the United States yet few can define it.

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.

Author: Eric D. Wanger

Eric has nearly 30 years of experience as a creative and entrepreneurial professional in roles ranging from general management, team leadership and project management to technical rolls in IT, software development financial services and law. He has run business units, managed teams and delivered projects for established global enterprises and as the founder of a number of startups. Over his nearly 30 years at work, his job titles have included Board Member (public, private and non-profit), President, Founder, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Research, Chief Investment Officer, Fund Manager, Software Developer, Securities Analyst, Web Designer, Systems Integrator, Investment Advisor, Fundraiser, Consultant and Attorney. As a software consultant, cloud based, mobile app software as a consultant to one of the world’s leading electronic medical records companies (Cerner). As Chief Investment Officer and Director of Research for a startup financial services firm (Wanger OmniWealth, LLC), he developed a proprietary, risk-based holistic reporting platform for wealthy families and a set of allocation models based on it. He has developed automated trading systems for equity and equity ETF's. Between 2002 and 2013, Eric served as a portfolio manager of the Long Term Opportunity fund (small/micro-cap equities), the Alternative Fixed Income Fund (blend of exchange traded and privately negotiated debt) and as the strategist and founder (with Ralph Wanger) for the Income and Growth Fund (multi-asset class dividend strategy). Eric was a senior investment analyst at Barrington Research Associates (Chicago) covering technology and business services. Prior to that, Eric was a software, communications, and technology analyst for the Edgewater Funds, a private equity/venture capital firm with over $1 billion under management. Before joining Edgewater funds in 2000, Eric worked in Silicon Valley providing consulting, training, and software development to early-¬stage firms. Between 1991 and 1996, Eric was a principal consultant at EDW, Ltd, a firm he founded to provide software development, training in rapid software development techniques (NeXT), and systems interoperability consulting services for large multi-vendor and distributed computer networks. EDW's clients included such companies as Fannie Mae, MCI, Swiss Bank Corp (UBS), Chrysler, Merrill Lynch, Apple Computer, Stanford University, and The Acorn Funds. Eric received his J.D. from Stanford Law School and is a member of the California Bar. He was co-founder and managing editor of the Stanford Technology Law Review. Eric was awarded a National Merit Scholarship in 1981. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-¬Champaign and received a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2005. Eric lives in Chicago with his three children and a fat English Labrador retriever named Casper. He enjoys classical and jazz piano, hiking and aviation. He is an instrument rated pilot. Eric serves as a trustee for the Acorn Foundation and is active at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

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