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Disrespect for the Due Process

The Declaration of Independence speaks of "unalienable" God given rights, including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." It makes the assertion that governments derive their power from the "consent" of the governed - and that the governed have the fundamental right to withdraw that consent. At the time, these were rather radical propositions.

Those opening statements of the Declaration are the guiding principles of our nation. It is totally fitting that we honor them today. Celebration is in order.

Yet, there is a lot more to the Declaration of Independence. We often ignore or skim over the enumerated grievances with the government of Great Britain.

It's easy to think that the specific complaints with our colonial masters are no longer of any relevance. As to the details, I suppose that's correct.

When you review those reasons listed in the declaration, however, you quickly perceive a common theme. The British government was acting lawlessly. It wasn't respecting its own norms and laws. Judges were being unduly influenced. The right to jury trials denied. Property rights impaired. Citizens were required to quarter soldiers. Taxes were arbitrarily imposed. Trade restricted. People were not being protected.

The Declaration describes a pattern of a government not respecting due process. It describes a pattern of a government willfully not respecting the rights of its citizens.

The rule of law - English law - was failing. The Founders clearly recognized that. Their concerns 246 years ago were very much rule of law concerns.

We still have such concerns today.

Our laws matter. How those laws are applied matters. Process matters.


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