In this post, I reflect upon the sacrosanct nature of due process and why we should safeguard it at all costs. This content uses referral links.
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Due process is such a fundamental part of our cultural heritage, such a bedrock foundational principle of the American founding and a landmark advancement in the eternal fight against tyranny, that the very idea that it could be subject to debate should be unthinkable. And, indeed, the fact that it has come under attack in recent years should frighten us all.
Like Pandora’s Box, once the door toward the past is open, once the necessity and sacrosanct nature of due process is questioned, the vile evils and injustices that flow forth will permeate every aspect of our society with far-reaching and devastating consequences that will be incredibly difficult to repair.
And we have already begun to see it.
While it’s easy to question the necessity of our principles on an ad hoc basis when they stand as an obstacle to what seems so obviously right in the moment, these barriers that prove inconvenient in one case may prove life-saving in another.
The rights we trade away for expediency and convenience today can only be repurchased with blood tomorrow. Centuries of struggle, suffering, and sacrifice purchased for us what we now take for granted.
Our ancestors bled and died so that we would not have to face the lash of the inquisitor or the blasé condemnation of the Star Chamber. Due process is the ever-present safeguard of human dignity against the emotional whims of the mob and political winds of the moment, and once we deny the dignity of one, we deny the dignity of all.
Due process is the vanguard against the tyrant, and only the despotic will call for its removal.
We should, therefore, take note of those who claim that the inalienable rights of man about which the Founders wrote are antiquated because, in speaking these words, they tell us exactly who they are.
They are the enemies of freedom. Notwithstanding their claims, they would bring us not forward but backward. Not all inquisitors wear clerical robes. Tyrants most frequently come with an olive branch, not a sword. They approach us in disguise, promising a security that will inevitably give way to fear.
And without due process, what will there be to stop them? To whom will you cry when there is nothing to stand between you and the executioner’s bullet?