due process


Definition of due process 

1 : a course of formal proceedings (such as legal proceedings) carried out regularly and in accordance with established rules and principles

called also procedural due process

2 : a judicial requirement that enacted laws may not contain provisions that result in the unfair, arbitrary, or unreasonable treatment of an individual

called also substantive due process

Examples of due process in a Sentence

Due process requires that evidence not be admitted when it is obtained through illegal methods.

Recent Examples on the Web

Congress has tried to mitigate this by ensuring due process for accused and accuser. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Sexual Harassment on the Hill," 28 Dec. 2018 Get our daily newsletter Though changeable in many ways, Mr Trump has consistently approved of harsh punishment and disliked due process. The Economist, "Donald Trump wants tough justice—with one exception," 17 May 2018 In the past, the union has resisted talking about implications of the Whitehurst case except to issue a statement calling on administrators to better investigate misconduct while protecting employee due process. The Oregonian/oregonlive, OregonLive.com, "Portland school leaders show sorrow, outrage in response to damning report," 11 May 2018 The suit says Wisconsin's coverage exclusion violates the Affordable Care Act, the Medicaid Act and the due process guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin unlawfully denies necessary treatment for transgender Medicaid recipients, lawsuit claims," 30 Apr. 2018 But critics say the program violates people’s civil and due process rights, tarnishes their names, and fosters racial profiling and police harassment. Evan Sernoffsky, San Francisco Chronicle, "A safer San Francisco debates whether to get rid of gang injunctions," 28 Apr. 2018 When claims of misconduct arise involving our members, the AAU Code provides for a review procedure to ensure due process to all concerned. Hannah Leone, Aurora Beacon-News, "Junior Volleyball Association is latest group to ban Aurora coach Rick Butler," 12 Feb. 2018 Without due process or accountability, a frustrated public is left with appealing to a few powerful referees—and crossing our fingers. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A majority of Americans don’t think social networks are good for the world," 21 Nov. 2018 Now, the defense appears to have pivoted from its lack of due process claim. Lily Herman, Teen Vogue, "Brock Turner Presents "Outercourse" Argument at Appeals Court," 25 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'due process.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of due process

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

3 Jan 2019

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The first known use of due process was in the 15th century

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due process


English Language Learners Definition of due process

law : the official and proper way of doing things in a legal case : the rule that a legal case must be done in a way that protects the rights of all the people involved

due process


Legal Definition of due process 

1 : a course of formal proceedings (as judicial proceedings) carried out regularly, fairly, and in accordance with established rules and principles

called also procedural due process

2 : a requirement that laws and regulations must be related to a legitimate government interest (as crime prevention) and may not contain provisions that result in the unfair or arbitrary treatment of an individual

called also substantive due process

Note: The guarantee of due process is found in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which states “no person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” and in the Fourteenth Amendment, which states “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” The boundaries of due process are not fixed and are the subject of endless judicial interpretation and decision-making. Fundamental to procedural due process is adequate notice prior to the government's deprivation of one's life, liberty, or property, and an opportunity to be heard and defend one's rights to life, liberty, or property. Substantive due process is a limit on the government's power to enact laws or regulations that affect one's life, liberty, or property rights. It is a safeguard from governmental action that is not related to any legitimate government interest or that is unfair, irrational, or arbitrary in its furtherance of a government interest. The requirement of due process applies to agency actions.

3 : the right to due process acts that violated due process

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