Vanderbilt Law Review

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On November 27, 1951, the United States Court of Military Appeals, then some five months old, fashioned in the Clay case' what is characterized as a label. It embellished this label with quotation marks at least twice in the course of the opinion. This label, which was, in the language of the Court, used "for lack of a more descriptive phrase,"was "military due process." This, and later use of the term by the Court in other opinions, has caused some students of military law to speculate as to whether there is occurring the emergence of a new doctrine of law. Others incline to the view that old wine is being purveyed in a new bottle. The opinions of the Court up to now seem to indicate a trend to consider the term as alternative nomenclature for the process of finding and declaring reversible error.

The words "due process" are perhaps the outstanding contribution of the law to the dialectics of Alice in Wonderland. Fundamental, solid and useful though the general doctrine of due process is, the civil courts have repeatedly adverted to the difficulty encountered in endeavoring to define it.