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Commentary

Due Process Reflects Human Nature and It is Our Best Chance for Fairness



According to a recent Reason headline, proposed changes to the Department of Education’s (DOE) Title IX require “due process protections...for individuals accused” of sexual misconduct on campus. A CNN article on Kavanaugh-accuser Christine Blasey Ford states, “#MeToo is not revenge: It is a timely search for due process” for accusers.

“Due process” is a battle cry throughout the news and across campuses. Conservatives demand due process for those accused; the left insists upon it for accusers. The term is not a weaponized talking point, however; it is a principle of justice.

What is due process? Why it is essential to justice?

In common parlance, due process is the fair treatment that every individual deserves from law enforcement and the judiciary. Accusers should be heard without bias; defendants should be judged on the evidence and through unbiased procedures. In America, the legal meaning of “due process” derives from the common law tradition, the Bill of Rights, laws and court precedents. The protections include “innocent until proven guilty,” the right of cross-examination, legal representation and transparent proceedings.

Because the protections apply to defendants, however, due process is often said to obstruct justice for accusers.



Wendy McElroy is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. Her books include the Independent Institute volumes, Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the Twenty-First Century, and Freedom, Feminism, and the State.


From Wendy McElroy
LIBERTY FOR WOMEN: Freedom and Feminism in the Twenty-First Century
With its vision of individualist feminism, Liberty for Women boldly explores a wide range of issues that confront the modern woman, including self-defense, economic well-being and employment, sex and abortion, the family, technology, and much more.







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