Fifth Amendment: Due Process

The government may not deprive citizens of “life, liberty, or property” without due process of law. This means that the government has to follow rules and established procedures in everything it does. It cannot, for example, skip parts of trials, or deny citizens their rights as protected by the Bill of Rights and by law. This protection helps to ensure justice.

Due process protection has its roots in the Magna Carta when King John promised that “[n]o free man shall be taken or imprisoned … or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

The language of this amendment is echoed in the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.