This section is from the book "The Constitutional Law Of The United States", by Westel Woodbury Willoughby. Also available from Amazon: Constitutional Law.
Thus it has been held that, so long as the fundamental rights of litigants to a fair trial, as regards notice, opportunity to present evidence, etc., and adequate relief are provided, and specific requirements of the Constitution are not violated, Congress has a full discretion as to the form of the trial or adjudication, and the character of the remedy to be furnished. Thus, the States not being bound by the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Amendments, grand and petit juries may be dispensed with by them.15 So also, within limits, legislatures may determin what evidence shall be received, and the effect of that evidence, so long as the fundamental rights of the parties are preserved.16
No person has a vested right to a particular remedy. "The State has full control over the procedure in its courts, both in civil and criminal cases, subject only to the qualification that such procedure must not work a denial of fundamental rights, or conflict with specific and applicable provisions of the federal Constitution." 17 Statutes of limitations, if reasonable, are not unconstitutional as denial of property or contractural rights. The authorities as to this are so uniform and numerous as not to need citation.
14 See also Holden v. Hardy, 169 U. S. 366; 18 Sup. Ct. Rep. 383; 42 L ed. 780.
15 Hurtado v. California, 110 U. S. 516: 4 Sup. Ct. Rep. III; 28 L. ed. 232; Maxwell v. Dow, 176 U. S. 581; 20 Sup. Ct. Rep. 448; 44 L. ed. 597.
16 See Fong Yue Ting v. United States, 149 U. S. 698; 13 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1016; 37 L. ed. 905, and authorities there cited. In Adams v. New York (192 U. S. 585; 24 Sup. Ct. Rep. 372; 48 L. ed. 575), it was held that due process of law was not denied by a state law making possession of policy slips prima facie evidence of "possession thereof knowingly." and as such a crime.
17 Brown v. New Jersey, 175 U. S. 172; 20 Sup. Ct. Rep. 77; 44 L. ed. 119.
In Twining v. New Jersey18 it is declared that due process of law does not include exemption of an accused from compulsory self-incrimination.
In Hammond Packing Co. v. Arkansas19 it was held that due process of law is not denied by a state court striking from the files the answer of a foreign corporation and rendering a judgment by default against it, as permitted by state law when the defendant disobeys an order to secure the attendance as witnesses of certain of its officers and agents, and the production of papers and documents in their possession or control.
The case was distinguished from that of Hovey v. Elliott20 in which it had been held a denial of due process for a court, as a punishment for contempt, based upon a refusal to obey an order of the court, to deny a right of the defendant to defend, and to give judgment without more ado to the plaintiff. The court in the Hammond case say: "Hovey v. Elliott involved a denial of all right to defend as a mere punishment. This case presents a failure by the defendant to produce what we must assume was material evidence in its possession, and a resulting striking out of an answer and a default. The proceeding here taken may, therefore, find its sanction in the undoubted right of the lawmaking power to create a presumption of the fact as to the bad faith and untruth of an answer to be gotten from the suppression or failure to produce the proof ordered, when such proof concerned the rightful decision of the cause. In a sense, of course, the striking out of the answer and default was a punishment, but it was only remotely so, as the generating source of the power was the right to create a presumption flowing from the failure to produce. The difference between mere punishment, as illustrated in Hovey v. Elliott, and the power exerted in this, is as follows: In the former, due process of law was denied by the refusal to hear. In this, the preservation of due process was secured by the presumption that the refusal to produce evidence material to the administration of due process was but an admission of the want of merit in the asserted defense. The want of power in. the one case and its existence in the other are essential to due process, to preserve in the one and to apply and enforce in the other. In its ultimate conception, therefore, the power exerted below was like the authority to default or to take a bill for confessed because of a failure to answer, based upon a presumption that the material facts alleged or pleaded were admitted by not answering, and might well also be illustrated by reference to many other presumptions attached by the law to the failure of a party to a cause to specially set up or assert his supposed rights in the mode prescribed by law. As pointed out by the court below, the law of the United States, as well as the laws of many of the States, afford examples of striking out pleadings and adjudging by default for a failure to produce material evidence, the production of which has been lawfully called for."
18 211 U. S. 78; 20 Sup. Ct. Rep. 14; 53 L. ed. 97.
19 212 U. S. 322; 20 Sup. Ct. Rep. 370; 53 L. ed. 530.
20 167 U. S. 409; 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 841; 42 L. ed. 220.