We all have a constitutional right to a fair hearing before and impartial court, or tribunal, as part of Due Process.
This due process is protected by the Bill of Rights and 5th Amendment.

Case law protects your constitutional right to a fair hearing.


With respect to action taken by administrative agencies, the Court has held that the demands of due process do not require a hearing at the initial stage, or at any particular point in the proceeding, so long as a hearing is held before the final order becomes effective.1

In Bowles v. Willingham,2 the Court sustained orders fixing maximum rents issued without a hearing at any stage, saying “where Congress has provided for judicial review after the regulations or orders have been made effective it has done all that due process under the war emergency requires.”

Are the Family Courts a wartime construct?

A provision that such a body shall not be controlled by rules of evidence does not, however, justify orders without a foundation in evidence having rational probative force. Hearsay may be received in an administrative hearing and may constitute by itself substantial evidence in support of an agency determination, provided that there are present factors which assure the underlying reliability and probative value of the evidence and, at least in the case at hand, where the claimant before the agency had the opportunity to subpoena the witnesses and cross-examine them with regard to the evidence.10 Although the Court has recognized that in some circumstances a “fair hearing” implies a right to oral argument,11 it has refused to lay down a general rule that would cover all cases.12

Due Process Before Terminating Benefits

Procedural due process must be evaluated by using a balancing test that accounts for the interests of the affected individual, the interest of the government in limiting procedural burdens, and the risk of erroneously curtailing individual interests under the existing procedures, as well as how much additional procedures would help reduce the risk of error.

Eldridge, a recipient of Social Security benefits, did not receive a hearing before the Social Security Administration (SSA) terminated his benefits. The agency used its customary procedures, and Eldridge failed to exhaust his post-termination administrative remedies. He argued that the lack of a pre-termination hearing was unconstitutional under the procedural due process protections of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the lower federal courts agreed with him.


author avatar
Robert Tanguay
Author of "Incentives and the Environment" and founder of EmissionsTax.