State Is Subject To The Law and Due Process
Without law no state could exist. No nation. No county government. No international force. No state of any kind can exist without laws, for it is by laws that states are created.
This maxim teaches us that, just as the state is created by laws, so the state must besubject to law.
And, of course, every state should be subject to these principles of law … for only by the principles of law can we judge the state as just or unjust, wise or foolish, strong or weak.
The old saying, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” comes to mind.
Only the government willing to submit to law is justified to require others to submit to its power … for its power derives solely from law.
Though his decision be just, he who hears only one side is himself unjust.
This is the first principle of due process.
This is the bedrock of justice and fair play.
Everyone should be heard. Fully. Completely. Under oath.
If a party has witnesses, those witnesses should be heard. If a party has evidence to present, the evidence should be examined. If the witnesses are not trustworthy or the evidence is inadmissible according to law, the party should nonetheless have a chance to offer the testimony and evidence until they are shown to be improper. Under no circumstance should a party be denied the opportunity to at least offer witness testimonyand evidence.
And, certainly, under no circumstance should the cause of any person be judged until that person has been heard by the court explaining his or her side of the story.
The maxims teach us that punishment of an evil doer without affording due process of law (e.g., without allowing the person to be heard and present witnesses and evidence in his behalf) is itself an evil deed … a wrong performed by the court itself.
Even where the court is convinced of a party’s guilt, if the judge does not give that person an opportunity to be heard and to present witness testimony and other evidence in his or her behalf, the judge is not just – and an order of the court entered in such circumstances violates the rule of law. Indeed, no matter what the party’s guilt may be, the unjust act of a court of law is an even more guilty crime.