Substantive due process has been of great importance to the decision of many Supreme Court cases since its beginning. Since its inception in Lochner v. New York,[1] the Supreme Court has used the theory of substantive due process in order to grant numerous rights to individuals and this theory has been interpreted differently by each Justice that has crossed its path.

This thesis will explain how recent changes in the composition of the United States Supreme Court make it likely that judicial opinions involving substantive due process will be decided differently. The United States Supreme Court’s future substantive due process jurisprudence will narrow the reach of Substantive Due Process. Justices and their past opinions as well as statements on their analysis of substantive due process will be scrutinized in order to come to this conclusion.

This thesis will examine the evolution of substantive due process as well as how each Justice’s distinct views affect it within the Supreme Court’s composition. By determining how the Supreme Court is most likely to proceed and examining the rights already granted through substantive due process this thesis will come to a determination on whether the protection of the rights granted to individuals would be maintained.

[1] Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45, 25 S. Ct. 539, 49 L. Ed. 937 (1905)

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Merriam, Eric


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


Legal Studies



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


Included in

Legal Studies Commons