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CHAPTER 18

The Bearer of Bad Tidings

Service of Process in the Federal Courts

INTRODUCTION

Some of the most profound protections of our constitutional system are astoundingly simple. “Due process of law” under the Fourteenth Amendment, for example, guarantees parties the basic right to notice of a court’s intention to adjudicate their rights and an opportunity for those parties to be heard before the court proceeds to do so. “An elementary and fundamental requirement of due process in any proceeding which is to be accorded finality is notice reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections.” Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank, 339 U.S. 306, 311 (1950). In civil suits, this requirement is fulfilled through service of process.

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