In its first sustained definition of “due process of law,” the Supreme Court ruled that the Treasury Department did not violate the Fifth Amendment when it used administrative warrants to recovery embezzled funds.
The accounts of a customs collector, Samuel Swartwout, were short more than a million dollars. The Treasury Department used a congressional law of 1820 to place a lien on his property without prior judicial approval. Swartwout claimed that seizing his property without a judicial proceeding violated the due process requirements of the Fifth Amendment.
Justice Benjamin R. Curtis wrote a majority opinion in Murray's Lessee that put Congress on notice that it could not merely will "due process."
Speaking for a unanimous Supreme Court, Justice Benjamin R. Curtis
Due process, procedural