Deprivation of Life

The term “life” in the due process clauses is not often the subject of dispute. Even where the government deprives a person of life (e.g., through enforcement of the death penalty), the government seldom does so without following proper procedures. Where the government has allegedly taken a life in an impermissible manner, challenges to the action are usually based on another constitutional provision. For instance, challenges to the death penalty have typically been based on the Eighth Amendment’s proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. Similarly, arguments related to whether life begins at conception or birth, especially in abortion cases, focus on the liberty interests of the mother rather than the definition of “life” in the due process clauses.

Inside Deprivation of Life