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Due Process

Article 10 (1780)

Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary: but no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent. And whenever the public exigencies require that the property of any individual should be appropriated to public uses, he shall receive a reasonable compensation therefor.

Precedents, Following Law, and Quotations

John Adams, The Boston Massacre Trials (1770)  “Adams’ Argument for the Defense: 3–4 December 1770,”  Founders Online, National Archives, last modified June 13, 2018:

“The law, in all vicissitudes of government, fluctuations of the passions, or flights of enthusiasm, will preserve a steady undeviating course; it will not bend to the uncertain wishes, imaginations, and wanton tempers of men.”


Daniel Webster, for the plaintiffs, Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518 , 580-581 (1819):

“[T]he text of Blackstone [says]: ‘And first, it (i.e. law) is a rule ; not a transient sudden order from a superior, to, or concerning, a particular person; but something permanent, uniform and universal. . . Lord Coke is equally decisive and emphatic.  Citing and commenting on the celebrated 29th chap. of Magna Charta, he says, ‘no man shall be disseized, &c. unless it be by the lawful judgment, that is, verdict of equals, or by the law of the land, that is, (to speak it once for all,) by the due course and process of law.’  . . By the law of the land is most clearly intended the general law; a law, which hears before it condemns; which proceeds upon inquiry, and renders judgment only after trial.  The meaning is, that every citizen shall hold his life, liberty, property, and immunities, under the protection of the general rules which govern society.”


Fourteenth Amendment , U.S. Constitution, section 1, declared to be part of the Constitution by proclamation dated July 28, 1858 after ratification by thirty of the thirty-six United States:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”


Pinnick v. Cleary , 360 Mass 1 (1971),  Note 8:

“Part II, c. 1, Section 1, art. 4, of the Massachusetts Constitution, and arts. 1, 10 and 12 of its Declaration of Rights, are the provisions in our Constitution comparable to the due process clause of the Federal Constitution.”


Lawrence Friedman and Lynnea Thody, The Massachusetts State Constitution, Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 50-51:

“Article 10 has been a primary source of due process jurisprudence in Massachusetts. [This includes] substantive due process [which] implicates governmental actions that either ‘shock the conscience’ or interfere with rights considered to be fundamental to the concept of ordered liberty …[or] procedural due process [which] refers to the constitutional requirement that governmental action be implemented in a fair manner. . . Due process also operates to ensure that laws do not suffer from insufficient clarity. Due process requires that laws be clear so as to give a person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what the law proscribes, that he or she might act accordingly. ”

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