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Patrick Nonwhite @NonWhiteHat
, 20 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
If I still blogged, I would write a lawsplainer on the concept of "Due Process," what it means, and why neither unfair gossip nor legitimate journalism violates it.
/2 So I'll write a tweetstorm about it, and perhaps convert that. I'll try to stick to 140. I believe in 140.
/3 "Due process" refers to the requirement that trials be conducted with "due process of law," a concept older than the American republic, but enshrined in the Fifth Amendment.
/4 (It's broader than that.) The Fighting Fifth, and its cousin The Fighting Fourteenth," state that governments cannot divest citizens of "life, liberty, or property" with due process of law.
/5 This means, broadly, that government can't take execute you, jail you, or seize your property (construed broadly) with a fair hearing before an impartial judge.
/6 It does not refer to acts of private parties. For instance, I just blocked some hammerhead for calling me a "dick." Although blocking him was completely arbitrary...
/7 I am not a government agent, and for that matter he has no "property" right to read my tweets. I did it because I felt like it, and THAT'S OK.
/8 However, were I government account, or if I provided a government service, he might have a right to read my tweets, and blocking him would require due process.
/9 That is, a judge or court would have to determine my blocking him was allowed by law, wasn't arbitrary, and he was given reasonable notice.
/10 Which brings us to Roy Moore. Roy Moore is accused, by multiple witnesses in the Washington Post, of inappropriate sexual behavior.
/11 Many of Roy's defenders say that he is being accused "without due process." This is "pure applesauce," as the late Justice Scalia might have put it.
/12 The accusations against Moore, rather, are journalism, which is protected by the First Amendment. Moore can file a libel suit against his accusers or the Post if he wishes.
/13 (The libel trial, since a court is a government agency, would itself have to be conducted with due process: A fair hearing with witnesses and customary burdens of proof.)
/14 The more serious people raising "due process" mean, perhaps, that Moore should not lose his place as Alabama GOP Senate nominee without "due process."
/15 And that is a serious matter, one entwining Alabama election law, Alabama GOP internal rules, and the courts in a way I'm not educated enough to opine on.
/16 But some also mean, "not voting for Roy Moore because a respected paper just published a devastating story about him" violated Moore's due process rights. Somehow.
/17 And that, as Justice Scalia would say, is "jiggery pokery." In fact, the ones who have due process rights in the decision in whether Moore is elected are Alabama voters.
/18 So if you see someone saying that Roy Moore is being "convicted without due process" that person doesn't know what he's talking about.
/19 Or is simply saying it in bad faith. In either case, take that into account when deciding whether to take that person's arguments seriously.
/20 I will end this screed with a tweet under 140 characters.
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