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The United States confers U.S. citizens with due process right under the Fourteenth Amendment. Whereas the due process clause is a key source of procedural and substantive rights, the court’s interpretation has historically varied. Nonetheless, a comprehensive and precise assessment of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of due process rights is the foundation of an effective criminal justice system.

Procedural Due Process in Select Supreme Court Cases


An effective criminal justice system depends on the accurate and complete assessment of Supreme Court due process. However, the suggestion that people do not have a due process constitutional right to obtain DNA evidence from the state to prove their innocence is an incorrect and inaccurate assessment of the decisions in Osborne and Duncan’s cases.  In the Duncan V. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 (1968) case, the Supreme Court majority decided that the 14th amendment confers individuals the dual process right to a trial by a jury. However, in the District Attorney’s Office v. Osborne, 557 U.S. 52 (2009) case, the majority concluded that the respondent did not have a due process right to post conviction access to DNA evidence from the States.  In Osborne’s case, the majority judges’ decision was based on the understanding that Alaska provided sufficient post-conviction relief procedures to its citizens. Hence, the respondent had substantive rights to acquire the DNA evidence under Alaska post-conviction procedures.  Therefore, the courts did not imply that accused persons have no constitutional right to acquire DNA testing to prove their innocence. 


The holding in Duncan and Osborne addresses different substantive rights and procedures. Whereas Osborne’s case addresses post-conviction due process rights, Duncan’s case highlights the due process rights during trial. In Osborne’s case, the court indicates that the legislature is responsible for creating procedures and methods that harness the ability of DNA to prove a person’s innocence. Alaska has adequate post-relief procedures and methods that apply to persons seeking evidence for DNA testing. Hence, the court was reluctant to expand the substantive due process clause to the post-conviction collection of DNA evidence.

Due Process Clause and Privacy Rights in Roe v. Wade andDobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization


Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 597 US (2022) overruled Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113 (1973). In the Dobb’s case, the court ruled that women do not have a constitutional right to privacy under the due process clause that allows them to abort. The decision that overruled Wade is limited to the concerns surrounding privacy right that allow them to abort. However, the recent interpretations pare back the protections that privacy rights afford to individuals by advancing a narrow and limited interpretation of individual rights. For instance, the Dobb’s court opted for a narrow textual interpretation of the privacy rights and due process clause by limiting rights to only historical rights that were provided when the Fourteenth amendment was being enacted. In contrast, Roe was a more expansive interpretation of the substantive due process rights. Since the privacy principles also apply to previous cases, including gay rights and contraception right that lack historical protection, the decision may lead to the challenge of previous court decisions.


If the impact of Dobbs minimized the fundamental nature of the right to privacy, it would have a significant impact on criminal justice. Dobbs may increase the likelihood that cases determined based on the same privacy principles may be overturned (Katz, 2023). For instance, Katz (2023) suggests that the fourth amendment protections against unreasonable searched and seizures may be affected if the Supreme Court uphold the textual conception of the fourth amendment. Hence, the decision may have significant effects on future decisions in the criminal justice system.