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This Week’s eLesson: Due Process and Justice
Due process is a fundamental constitutional guarantee of the United States justice system, and a principle discussed recently in the news in relation to several high-profile cases springing from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. It is a right of the accused that the accuser must adhere to as they seek to prove the guilt or innocence of an aggrieved party. But what exactly is due process, and why is it seen as a central tenant of justice and the preservation of liberty?
In this eLesson, students will explore the principle of due process through an examination of the exclusionary rule and the Supreme Court case of Mapp v Ohio (1962).
- Students will understand due process and its relationship to both liberty and justice
- Students will evaluate the case of Mapp v Ohio and its relationship to due process
- Handout A: Definition of Due Process
- Handout B: Case Background of Map v Ohio
- Handout C: Excerpt: Majority Opinion Mapp v Ohio
Warm-up Activity – 5 minutes
Directions: Have students read Handout A: Definition of Due Process or write the Definition of Due Process on the board. As a class or individually, have your students answer the two review questions.
Activity: Mapp v Ohio (1962) – 15-20 minutes
Directions: Individually or in small groups, have your students read Handout B: Case Background: Mapp v Ohio (1962) and Handout C: Excerpt: Majority Opinion Mapp v. Ohio, and answer the review questions.
Wrap-up Activity – 5 minutes
Directions: Have your students share their responses to the review questions. Lead them in a class discussion about the exemption rule and its relationship to due process. Ask them to assess the claim that the exclusionary rule helps ensure liberty and justice.
Handout A: Due Process defined
Due Process: Government must interact with all citizens according to the duly enacted laws, applying these rules equally among all citizens.
- In your own words, define due process.
- Do you think due process is central to the protection of individual liberty? Why or why not?
Handout B: Case Background: Mapp v. Ohio (1962)
The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures and requires two branches of government to agree in order for search warrants to be issued. But what happens when the police do not act within the law and conduct searches without a warrant? The Fourth Amendment does not specify.
In a series of cases, the Court was asked to consider whether criminal defendants’ convictions could stand if illegally-seized evidence was used against them in Court. In the 1914 case of Weeks v. United States, the Court answered no. With this ruling, the Court established the exclusionary rule for federal cases: evidence seized in violation of the Constitution may not be used at trial. Among the early critics of the exclusionary rule was Appeals Court Judge Benjamin Cardozo. Cardozo famously objected in 1926, “The criminal is to go free because the constable has blundered.”
About thirty-five years later in 1949, the Court declined to apply the exclusionary rule to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, reasoning that states could use other methods of ensuring due process of law.
When Mapp v. Ohio reached the Court in 1961, it was not initially seen as a Fourth Amendment case. Dollree Mapp was convicted under Ohio law for possessing “lewd, lascivious, or obscene material.” Mapp appealed her conviction. She based her claim on First Amendment grounds, saying that she had a right to possess the materials. When the case reached the Supreme Court, however, the Justices did not address her First Amendment claim. The Court instead overturned her conviction because the evidence against her had been seized without a warrant. In so ruling, the Court applied the exclusionary rule to the states. The exclusionary rule remains controversial. Supporters say it ensures liberty and justice, while critics claim it actually threatens those values.
- What is the “Exclusionary Rule”? Provide a short definition
- How does the Exclusionary Rule relate to Due Process?
- What are some objections to the use of the Exclusionary rule?
- Do you think these concerns are fair or over stated?
- The case of Mapp v. Ohio dealt, not with the establishment of the federal exclusionary rule, but with its incorporation to the States through the due process clause of the 14th Why do you think the court saw the exclusionary rule as necessary to preserving an individual’s right to due process at the state level?
Handout C: Excerpt: Majority Opinion (6-3) Mapp v Ohio (1962)
There are those who say … that under our constitutional exclusionary doctrine “[t] he criminal is to go free because the constable has blundered.” …[And] in some cases this will undoubtedly be the result. But…there is another consideration— the imperative of judicial integrity. …The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.
Our decision, founded on reason and truth, gives to the individual no more than that which the Constitution guarantees him, to the police officer no less than that to which honest law enforcement is entitled, and, to the courts, that judicial integrity so necessary in the true administration of justice.
- How does the court explain its decision?
- How does the court anticipate challenges to its ruling?
- How does the courts ruling connect to due process?
- Do you agree or disagree with the courts majority opinion? Explain your answer.
For a full treatment of Mapp v. Ohio see the Bill of Rights Institute’s lesson on Voices of History!
- Introducing Think the Vote
- Presidential Debates in History
- What’s the Deal with the Electoral College?
- What’s a Caucus and How Does it Work?
- Debating Voter ID Laws
- “Dirty” Presidential Politics
- The Electoral College and Popular Vote
- The Inauguration of the President
Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers
- To Confirm or Not to Confirm: That is the Question?
- What Do We Learn from the U.S. Embassy’s Move to Jerusalem?
- Tariffs, Trade, and Tension
- Too Young to Vote, but Not to March: Lessons in Youth Civic Engagement
- Your Vote Matters! Political Efficacy in 2018
- Pat Tillman and Self Sacrifice: A Different Direction
- Columbus Discovers the New World: Paideia Seminar
- Pardon Me, Mr. President
- Setting Classroom Expectations for Trust, Tolerance, and Civil Discourse
- Who Checks the FBI?
- Citizens Can Change Things, Too
- Incoming! The Impact of Immigration
- The First Hundred Days
- The Electoral College and Popular Vote
- Contentious Elections and the Peaceful Transition of Power
- The Great Immigration Debate
- An Anthem, a Flag, and Individual Liberties
- The Role of Presidential Debates
- Do University Students Have a Right to Carry Concealed Weapons on Campus?
- The Constitution and the Culture
- ISIS and American Foreign Policy
- Turning Point in American Foreign Policy
- The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives
- Should the Death Penalty be Abolished?
- Net Neutrality: Should the Government Regulate the Internet?
- When is Affirmative Action Justified?
- Security vs. Privacy: The Fight between Apple and the FBI
- Debating Voter ID Laws
- Remembering Justice Antonin Scalia
- Refugees in American History
- What’s a Caucus and How Does it Work?
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- Free Speech or “Safe” Speech?
- Down with Hamilton and Jackson? Why Our Currency May be Changing
- Civil Asset Forfeiture
- Robert F. Kennedy’s April 4 Address
- Unlocking Your Cell Phone: Property Rights in the Digital Age
- Searching for the Fourth Amendment
- Voters Make History with State Ballot Initiatives
- Discussing Controversial Topics – The Second Amendment
- Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine
- Religious Freedom and the Affordable Care Act
- Occupy Protests and the Bill of Rights
- The Stolen Valor Act and False Speech
- Free Speech versus Privacy: Snyder v. Phelps (2011)
- The Healthcare Act, Federalism, and the Commerce Clause
- The Bill of Rights and the Tragedy of the Arizona Shooting
- WikiLeaks: Should Assange be charged under the Espionage Act?
- Arizona Immigration Law
- Arizona’s Immigration Law Countersuit
- Healthcare and the Bill of Rights
- Commemorating 9/11 and America’s Civic Values
- Justice Thomas on National Identity
- Hurricane Katrina and the Bill of Rights
- Snowden and the NSA
- Voting Rights in America
- North Carolina Amendment One
- Understanding the Nomination Process
- Affirmative Action and the Constitution
- Supreme Court GPS Warrant Ruling
- Internet Copyright and Piracy Bills
- Property Rights and the Supreme Court
- Federal Budget and the Constitution
- The Defense of Marriage Act
- Airport Scanners and the Fourth Amendment
- Is the Healthcare Act Constitutional?
- The U.S. Census and Personal Liberty
- The Inauguration of the President
- Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2013)
Bill of Rights Institute Curricula Resources
- Defining Classroom Citizenship
- Father Emil Kapaun’s Acts of Self-Sacrifice
- Roger Sherman in His Own Words
- Varian Fry’s Grave Responsibility
- Free Speech, Banned Books, and Civil Discourse
- Clement Laird Vallandigham: Resounding Silence
- The Selfless Defenders of Wake Island
- John Brown and Self-deception
- The Battle for Balance
- Security, Liberty, and the USA PATRIOT Act
- Champions of Freedom – The Founders
- Toast the Constitution: Prohibition Lessons
- Religious Liberty: The American Experiment
- College Bill of Rights
- Due Process Central
- Teaching Complex Topics
- Elbridge Gerry & Gerrymandering
- Bill of Rights
- Additional Amendments
- Federalist 39
AP United States History DBQs
- McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
- Dred Scott v. Sanford (1854)
- Korematsu v. United States (1944)
- Eisenhower and the Little Rock Crisis (1957)
- Kelo v. New London (2005)
Presidents and the Constitution
- The Twenty-Fifth Amendment
- Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion
- Commander in Chief: The Barbary Pirates
- Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase
- James Madison and Federal Power
- The Disputed Election of 1824: John Quincy Adams
- James Buchanan and the Dred Scott Decision
- Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation
- Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment
- Federal Power: Theodore Roosevelt
- Cleveland and the Texas Seed Bill
- Johnson and Reagan and Federal Power
- Nixon and the War Powers Resolution
- The Panama Canal Treaties: Jimmy Carter
- The Impeachment of Bill Clinton
- Bush v. Gore and the 2000 Presidential Election
- George W. Bush and Military Tribunals
Landmark Supreme Court Cases
- Supreme Court Round-Up 2017-2018
- Supreme Court Round-Up 2016-2017
- Supreme Court Round-Up 2015-2016
- Supreme Court Round-Up 2014-2015
- Supreme Court Round-Up 2013-2014
- Supreme Court Round-Up 2012-2013
- Supreme Court Round-Up 2011-2012
- Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) – Slavery and the Fugitive Slave Clause
- Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) – Separate but equal
- Marbury v. Madison (1803) – Judicial Review or Judicial Activism?
- McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) – Federal Power
- Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) – Commerce Clause, Federalism
- Reynolds v. United States (1878) – Free Exercise of Religion
- Quincy Railways v. Chicago (1897) – Just Compensation, Incorporation
- Strauder v. West Virginia (1879) and Smith v. State of Texas (1941) – Fourteenth Amendment, Equal Protection
- Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918) – Commerce Clause, Federalism
- Olmstead v. United States (1927) – Fourth Amendment
- Near v. Minnesota (1931) – Freedom of the Press, Prior Restraint
- Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940) – Free Exercise of Religion
- Minersville School District v. Gobitis (1940) – Freedom of Speech, Religion
- United States v. Causby (1946) – Eminent Domain
- Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952) – Executive Power
- Brown v. Board of Education (1954) – Equal Protection
- Mapp v. Ohio (1961) – Fourth Amendment, Exclusionary Rule
- Engel v. Vitale (1962) – Freedom of Religion, Establishment Clause
- Edwards v. South Carolina (1963) – Freedom of Speech and Assembly
- Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) – Sixth Amendment, Right to Counsel
- New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) – Freedom of the Press, Libel
- Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) – Personal Liberty, Privacy
- Miranda v. Arizona (1966) – Criminal Procedure and the Fifth Amendment
- Loving v. Virginia (1967) – Equal Protection
- Skokie (1977) and Brandenburg (1968) – Freedom of Speech and Assembly
- Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) – Freedom of Speech, Students
- New York Times v. United States (1971) – Freedom of the Press, Prior Restraint
- Roe v. Wade (1973) – Personal Liberty
- Taylor v. Louisiana (1975) – Juries
- Gregg v. Georgia (1976) – Eighth Amendment, Death Penalty
- Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) – Freedom of Speech, Students
- New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985) – Fourth Amendment, Students
- Bethel v. Fraser (1986) – Freedom of Speech, Students
- South Dakota v. Dole (1987) – Federal Power
- Allegheny County v. ACLU (1989) – Freedom of Religion, Establishment Cause
- Texas v. Johnson (1989) – Freedom of Speech
- Lee v. Weisman (1992) – Freedom of Religion, Establishment Clause
- Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Commission (1992) – Eminent Domain
- J.E.B. v. Alabama (1994) – Representative Juries
- United States v. Lopez (1995) – Commerce Clause, Federalism
- Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network (1996) – Freedom of Speech and Assembly
- Dickerson v. United States (1999) – Rights of the Accused
- Owasso v. Falvo (2001) – Privacy, Students
- Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002) – Freedom of Religion, Establishment Clause
- Pottawatomie v. Earls (2002) – Fourth Amendment, Students
- Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada (2003) – Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment
- Locke v. Davey (2004) – Free Exercise of Religion
- Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004) – Executive Power
- Gonzales v. Raich (2004) – Commerce Clause
- MGM Studios v. Grokster (2005) – Property Rights, Copyright
- Kelo v. New London (2005) – Eminent Domain
- Morse v. Frederick (2007) – Freedom of Speech, Students
- F.E.C. v. Wisconsin Right to Life (2007) – Freedom of Speech, Campaign Finance
- District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) – Second Amendment
- McDonald v. Chicago (2010) – Second Amendment
- Citizens United v. F.E.C. (2010) – Freedom of Speech, Campaign Finance
- Florence v. The Board of Chosen Freeholder (2011) – Search and Seizure