Impact on Due Process
Interestingly I have recently had the “joy” of discussing this with someone who takes the exact opposite view. This is incredibly dangerous.It’s used to justify a great deal of actions including the rejection of due process rights for non-citizens, which has been in the news lately due to investigations into the use of enhanced interrogation methods. So because of that, let’s take a look at the 8th amendment. Again, one would expect the text to be directed at the people or specifically at citizens if the latter view were correct, but it’s not. The amendment states that “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” In this case, “people” or “person” is not even used. This statement is clearly directed at the government.
To be fair, the 8th amendment is in large part a reiteration of the 5th amendment and the 5th amendment does use the word “person” again. Specifically, “no <b>person</b> shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime…” I made “person” bold because again it is important to realize that this rule does not forbid the government from violating due process for citizens, but for all people. But still, the constitution does not say that a person has the right to due process. It prevents the government from violating that right.