3 votes

Federal Appeals Court: US Constitution Applies to Everyone, Not Just US Citizens

A VERY interesting court decision just came out.

How many times have we heard someone say that the Constitution does not apply to anyone who is not a US Citizen (think: Guantanamo, attacking foreign people, etc.).

Well, this case is interesting because it blows that idea out of the water.

A US Border Patrol agent shot and killed a Mexican kid on the Mexico side of the border. He claimed that since (a) it was not on US soil and (b) the victim was not a US Citizen, the Mexican family could not sue him in a US court.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (one step below the US Supreme Court) has held that the US Constitution applies to all people, not just citizens. Furthermore, it extends the geographic jurisdiction beyond US borders for US government employees.

Although this has to do with a border issue, the legal concepts in the ruling are the antithesis of the legal concept the neocons and other tyrannical types want to push.

The implications of this could be huge.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

No DPer will touch this. It's got race


Don't feed the pandas. Ever.

Garan's picture

I think I know what lead to the border shooting.

In order to understand, you have to walk in the shoes of the shooter.

You also need to make your reading voice sound like a deep and cutting movie-trailer voice.

Here is the understanding:

..for your whole life.
people.. ..treating you in such a way...
that you may Never know..
if any other human being,
is always appalled by you,
And your family.
or simply saying your name: "Jesus, Mesa"!!

Captain Kirk Preamble

The Appeal Does Not State Constitution Applies To Everyone

as claimed in the OP title. Here is the relevant section in full of the actual opinion that is being quoted mined by media:

"Because Agent Mesa was inside our territory when he allegedly acted unconstitutionally, the United States, like in Boumediene, “is, for all practical purposes, answerable to no other sovereign for its acts.” 553 U.S. at 770. If the Constitution does not apply here, the only check on unlawful conduct would be that which the Executive Branch provides. Cf. Boumediene, 553 U.S. at 765 (noting a concern that “the political branches have the power to switch the Constitution on or off at will” and would represent “a striking anomaly in our tripartite system of government”). Indeed, a strict, territorial approach would allow agents to move in and out of constitutional strictures, creating zones of lawlessness. That approach would establish a perverse rule that would treat differently two individuals subject to the same conduct merely because one managed to cross into our territory."

Source: http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions%5Cpub%5C12/12-50217-CV0...

If you want a more detailed analysis of this case I posted excerpts of relevant statements in the opinion leading to a reversal in part:


Extraterritorial recognition or standing of excludable aliens are not across the board constitutional applications. It is done on a "should" basis not "can" basis. This appeal however does get into three relevant factors courts have identified when dealing with constitutional subject matter in foreign territory or with regards to foreign nationals. This appeal does refer to several precedents commonly used by courts in this subject matter area

Judge Napolitano

has also been saying this.

It actually protects the border agent. In theory, one gets a fairer hearing in a US court.

News and politics would be so much easier if people were actually educated.