The due process clause of the 14th is:
"Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Due process is basically ensuring that one's rights are protected and that the government follows the rules that 'the people' (their master) have made.
While the term "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" and class of citizenship of the United States vs. a state citizen without the United States has been debated as the idea and concept of a "United States citizen" did not exist for quite some time even after the country was founded, the court has stated that the Amendment applies to "natural persons protected by the due process clause, these include all human beings regardless of race, color, or citizenship" - See
"...at the Revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people; and they are truly the sovereigns of the country, but they are sovereigns without subjects.. with none to govern but themselves; the citizens of America are equal as fellow citizens, and as joint tenants in the sovereignty."
CHISHOLM v. GEORGIA (US) 2 Dall 419, 454, 1 L Ed 440, 455 @DALL 1793 pp. 471-472.
"The words 'sovereign people' are those who form the sovereign, and who hold the power and conduct the government through their representatives. Every citizen is one of these people and a constituent member of this sovereignty."
Scott v. Sandford, Mo., 60 US 393, 404, 19 How. 393, 404, 15 L.Ed. 691.
"Sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to the law, for it is the author and source of law, but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the agencies of government, sovereignty itself remains with the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts...For, the very idea that one man may be compelled to hold his life, or the means of living, or any material right essential to the enjoyment of life, at the mere will of another, seems to be intolerable in any country where freedom prevails, as being the essence of slavery itself." Yick Wo v. Hopkins, Sheriff, 118 U.S. 356.
56 L.Ed. 2d. 895 -- Def. of "person":
"Statutes employing the word "person" are ordinarily construed to exclude the sovereign."
Presumably the reason for this statute and several court decisions that state essentially the same thing is that there are two separate citizens in the US. Though this is a digression from the question.
The 14th Amendment has been interpreted as making the first 10 Amendments (Bill of Rights) applicable to the States, most of which already have similar provisions in their own Constitutions. I don't have a court cite handy though.
The fifth Amendment also contains a due process clause, though it was, prior to the 14th, only presumed to be binding upon the Federal government.
· 1 decade ago