Liberty Law and Legal Definition

Liberty is the right to exercise the rights enumerated by the constitution or available or under natural law. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment declares that no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. Although a literal reading of the Due Process Clause might suggest that it governs only the procedures by which a State may deprive persons of liberty, the Clause has been understood to contain a substantive component as well, one barring certain government actions regardless of the fairness of the procedures used to implement them. Fourteenth Amendment applies to matters of substantive law as well as to matters of procedure.

“Neither the Bill of Rights nor the specific practices of States at the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment marks the outer limits of the substantive sphere of liberty which the Fourteenth Amendment protects. The full scope of the liberty guaranteed by the Due Process Clause cannot be found in or limited by the precise terms of the specific guarantees elsewhere provided in the Constitution. This liberty is not a series of isolated points pricked out in terms of the taking of property; the freedom of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures; and so on. It is a rational continuum which, broadly speaking, includes a freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints and which also recognizes, what a reasonable and sensitive judgment must, that certain interests require particularly careful scrutiny of the state needs asserted to justify their abridgment.” [Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (U.S. 1992)]