December 12, 2014

Shall no person be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law?

By Brian T. Hodges Senior Attorney

The Fourteenth Amendment’s mandate that local governments shall not “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” is probably one of the best-known provisions of the U.S. Constitution. That guarantee is fundamental to our concept of ordered liberty, and is plainly written and easily understood. Why, then, did the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals rule that private property rights are not among the fundamental rights protected by the Due Process Clause? PLF is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to answer that question in Kentner v. City of Sanibel.

Earlier this week, PLF attorneys filed the reply brief asking the Court to overturn a line of cases from the Eleventh Circuit, adopting a per se rule that excludes private property from the protections of the Due Process Clause. Why? Because, according to the circuit courts, private property rights are defined by state law and therefore couldn’t have been on the framers’ minds when they wrote the words “life, liberty, or property.” Understand the court’s logic? No? Neither do we.

The Supreme Court scheduled PLF’s certiorari petition for consideration at the January 9, 2015, conference.

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