Substantive Due Process

by | Jun 28, 2022

[T]he conservatives reject substantive due process, which they see as a contradiction in terms that authorizes judges to legislate. If the term sounds odd, it would be odder still to dismiss the idea. As Roger Pilon writes, “By ‘law’ [in due process of law] the drafters could hardly have meant mere legislation or the guarantee would have been all but empty.” In other words, if a legislature may “duly” pass any substantive law it wishes, life, liberty, and property are hardly secure. Substantive due process is an indispensable restraint on legislative caprice.

“Dissolving the Inkblot: Privacy as Property Right,
Cato Policy Report, Jan-Feb 1993

About Sheldon Richman

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies; former editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education; and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation. His latest books are Coming to Palestine and What Social Animals Owe to Each Other.

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