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Does the constitution apply only to Americans?

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I was always under the impression that the constitution specifically applies to American citizens and not humans in general. Now if you don't realize it the reason why this applies to this resolution is for example the Guantanamo Bay stuff. Now if it is true that the Constituion only applies to citizens of the US then it is true that it is perfectly legal (Under American law) for them to detain them there indefinately even without the Patriot act. And the only possible violation of law would be a violation of international law.

 

However even though I think it techinically only applies to American citizens, I have never actually heard any Politician say this. And people seem to always use the Bill of Rights as sort of "Rights of all Humans on Earth". (Which I agree it should be)

 

So if it is true the constituion applies only to Americans, couldn't you potentially make a case that amends the constitution that makes the 4th and 14th (I think those are the right ones) ammendments apply to all humans? That would make all laws pertaining to this resolution apply to all humans obviously.

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u couldnt enforse the amendments on all humans that argument is useless unless u wanted to try a futile mindset argument but if i were debatin u and u had that case i might just laugh at u and let u win out of pity

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Guest Hang'in With Special Agent Dale Cooper

the question isn't whether the detainees at guantanamo have constitutional protections (which they don't), but rather if they are protected under the geneva accords (which they are)

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the question isn't whether the detainees at guantanamo have constitutional protections (which they don't), but rather if they are protected under the geneva accords (which they are)

 

but enemy combatants and prisoners of war are SO not the same :confused:

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Note: From 2003

Last month, in Odah v. U.S. the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit faced the question of whether citizens of Australia, Kuwait, and Britain captured in Afghanistan and detained at the U.S. base in Guantanamo, Cuba have a legal right to challenge their detention. The fact that the detainees are non-citizens was not crucial to the decision: non-citizens in the U.S. enjoy many of the same constitutional rights that citizens do.

 

Accordingly, the court in Odah acknowledged that the relief sought -- a writ of habeas corpus -- was indeed available to non-citizens. What was crucial was the fact that Guantanamo is technically Cuban, rather than U.S., soil. For this reason, the court could not "see why, or how, the writ may be made available to aliens abroad when basic constitutional protections are not." And it concluded that the detainees could not invoke the writ.

 

The D.C. Circuit's decision vindicates the Administration's policy of detaining suspected Al Qaeda members outside U.S. borders -- in the sense that it proves that, as the Administration thought, it has gained a legal advantage from doing so.

 

But that legal advantage is misguided -- in reality, Guantanamo is U.S. territory for all relevant purposes. Is it appropriate for the government to act unfettered by the Bill of Rights simply because it chooses to place detainees 90 miles off Florida, rather than in Florida itself?

 

 

 

 

During the 20th Century, the view that U.S. law stopped at the water's edge eroded. Courts started to enforce domestic statutes extraterritorially, especially in regulatory areas such as antitrust. As the world economy grew interconnected, the notion that U.S. law was limited to U.S. territory began to seem archaic.

 

After World War II, the United States occupied Germany and Japan. In neither case did the U.S. purport to annex the territories concerned. The Allies did claim, however, that German sovereignty had been extinguished in the war. Nonetheless, German and Japanese law, with some exceptions, continued to remain in force, and the U.S. Constitution was not generally considered relevant to the occupation.

 

The year 1957 marked a watershed in our conception of legal geography. That year, the Supreme Court's decision in Reid v. Covert expressly overturned the rule that the Bill of Rights did not apply abroad, calling it a relic from another era.

 

Reid declared that "when the Government reaches out to punish a citizen who is abroad, the shield [of] the Bill of Rights...should not be stripped away just because he happens to be in another land."

 

Technically, the Court's holding was limited to citizens alone. Nevertheless, some of the language in Reid is so sweeping that it strongly suggests an extension to non-citizens. They, too, are protected by the Constitution when they confront the U.S. government within the U.S.; why should its protections be stripped away when they confront the U.S. government abroad, just because they "happen to be in another land?"

 

Thus, it is not too surprising that, in an unusual case in 1979, U.S. v. Tiede, a U.S. court in occupied Berlin built on Reid's logic, holding that even non-citizens abroad possessed constitutional rights. The Upshot of Mixed Precedents on the Constitution's Reach

 

In short, the role of territory in our legal system is unclear, or at least inconsistent.

 

On the one hand, the basic powers granted by the Constitution are unaffected by geography. Many statutes are routinely applied to conduct abroad. And citizens are clearly protected by the Bill of Rights wherever they go in the world.

 

On the other hand, while the holdings of Insular Cases have been limited, their basic principle -- that territories ruled by the U.S. are constitutionally distinct from the U.S. itself -- has not changed. In 1990, the Supreme Court expressly reaffirmed this principle in U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, on the way to ruling that the Fourth Amendment did not apply to a search by U.S. government agents of a non-citizen's property in Mexico.

 

The Odah decision – denying the writ of habeas corpus to those on Guantanamo – continues this line of thought. According to this logic, non-citizens abroad lack any constitutional rights, even when they confront the U.S. government there. However, they continue to enjoy constitutional rights within U.S. borders, even when here illegally.

 

 

http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/04/14/findlaw.analysis.Raustiala.iraq/

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