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Due process

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No person shall be held to answer for a … crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, … nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; ….

U.S. Constitution - 5th Amendment

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.

U.S. Constitution - 14th Amendment

Long before Mr. Colbert King, law professors Mr. Monroe Freeman and Ms. Abbe Smith, and former special counsel to President William Clinton, Mr. Lanny Davis criticized Mr. Ronald Machen, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for violating the due process rights of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, there were others.

Due process - two simple words.

No two simple words appear to have traumatized “a great and independent newspaper” like The Washington Post.

No two simple words appear to have disturbed the moral and intellectual conscience not only of Mr. Machen, but also the editorial board of The Washington Post, its publisher Ms. Katharine Weymouth, Ms. Jo-Ann Armao, primary District editorial writer and Mr. Robert McCartney, columnist for The Washington Post.

No two simple words appear to challenge certain journalists and bloggers’ fundamental precept of justice and fairness.

If you are a family member, a close or not too close friend, a political ally, or someone who shares similar views, these words are clear, strong, and have meaning.

But if you are not a family member, not a close or too close a friend, not a political ally, or someone who does not share similar views, these words seem to have a nuance, become flexible, and may not have true meaning.

It seems due process loses its potency as a core value to The Washington Post if it is to be accorded to individuals outside its circle, particularly when it comes to the influence of an election.

Since Mayor Gray's election and the onset of Mr. Machen's federal investigation into Mayor Gray's 2010 mayoral campaign, he, Ms. Weymouth, Ms. Armao, and editorial board of The Washington Post have been wrestling with their institutional core values and principles, regretfully they lost.

If due process does not have any value to be accorded to one's adversaries, then it does not have any value to benefit one's family, friends and political allies.

The issue now becomes what do these two simple words - due process - mean to Mr. Machen, Ms. Weymouth, Ms. Armao, Mr. McCartney and the editorial board of The Washington Post.

E-mail contact information: rbrannum@robertbrannum.com

Twitter: @robert158

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