Amdt5.4.3.1.2 Persons Protected by the Due Process Clause: State Governments

Fifth Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

A separate question is the ability of a government official to invoke the Due Process Clause to protect the interests of his office. Ordinarily, the mere official interest of a public officer, such as the interest in enforcing a law, has not been deemed adequate to enable him to challenge the constitutionality of a law under the Fourteenth Amendment. 1 Similarly, municipal corporations have no standing to invoke the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment in opposition to the will of their creator, the state. 2 However, state officers are acknowledged to have an interest, despite their not having sustained any private damage, in resisting an endeavor to prevent the enforcement of statutes in relation to which they have official duties, and, accordingly, may apply to federal courts to review decisions of state courts declaring state statutes, which [they] seek to enforce, to be repugnant to the [Fourteenth Amendment of] the Federal Constitution . . . .3

Footnotes

  1.  Jump to essay-1Pennie v. Reis, 132 U.S. 464 (1889); Taylor and Marshall v. Beckham (No. 1), 178 U.S. 548 (1900); Tyler v. Judges of Court of Registration, 179 U.S. 405, 410 (1900); Straus v. Foxworth, 231 U.S. 162 (1913); Columbus & Greenville Ry. v. Miller, 283 U.S. 96 (1931).
  2.  Jump to essay-2City of Pawhuska v. Pawhuska Oil Co., 250 U.S. 394 (1919); City of Trenton v. New Jersey, 262 U.S. 182 (1923); Williams v. Mayor of Baltimore, 289 U.S. 36 (1933). But see Madison School Dist. v. WERC, 429 U.S. 167, 175 n.7 (1976) (reserving question whether municipal corporation as an employer has a First Amendment right assertable against a state).
  3.  Jump to essay-3Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433, 445, 442, 443 (1939); Boynton v. Hutchinson Gas Co., 291 U.S. 656 (1934); South Carolina Highway Dep’t v. Barnwell Bros., 303 U.S. 177 (1938). The converse is not true, however, and the interest of a state official in vindicating the Constitution gives him no legal standing to attack the constitutionality of a state statute in order to avoid compliance with it. Smith v. Indiana, 191 U.S. 138 (1903); Braxton County Court v. West Virginia, 208 U.S. 192 (1908); Marshall v. Dye, 231 U.S. 250 (1913); Stewart v. Kansas City, 239 U.S. 14 (1915). See also Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433, 437-46 (1939).