I am purposely being vague on the details to engage debate. And by Constitutional I am referring to the US Constitution, of course.
Of course not. The Constitution is not a universal document, and American law ends at the waterline.
If you’re in a country you are subject to THEIR laws/rules. So, your constitution stops at your borders.
Well, obviously a U.S. citizen in a foreign country isn’t protected from the foreign government by the U.S. Constitution. I suspect the question has more to do with if U.S. citizens abroad still enjoy the protections of the U.S. Constitution with respect to their own government. E.g., under what circumstances can the U.S. government send a Predator drone to kill you if you’re a U.S. citizen outside the United States?
That’s not true. The Constitution is largely limits on the power of the US gov’t. But those limits don’t have any geographical boundry. Congress can’t pass laws penalizing people for exercising free speech, practice of religion, etc. overseas.
Saying that the government can’t arrest someone for saying something overseas is redundant, as it can only arrest people on its own soil, where these protections apply.
Yes. You have accurately portrayed my real question.
Your saying its impossible to break US laws overseas? That’s certainly not true.
As far as punishment, people can be extradited, or fined or have their assets seized.
Or just arrested when they come back home from their European vacation.
“I’m sorry, citizen, but according to a report we received, you violated the Poltics Stops at the Water’s Edge Act of 2014 by making scurrilous and defamatory remarks about the United States government and/or United States foreign policy while in a foreign country. You’ll need to come with us.”
Ok, then, the answer is ‘it depends’. The case of the predator drone is highly controversial. The opponents would say it’s the government denying a person their rights without due process of law. Others would say it’s the same as killing a US citizen serving in the armed forces of an enemy nation during a time of war. Congress and the President have been handling these things with tacit agreements and stupid legislation which rarely gets before the Supreme Court, so it all stays in a gray area of undetermined constitutionality.
You only get the promise of due process of law, and what due process is in all cases isn’t very clear. Personally I think it falls under the President’s authority in his capacity as CIC. And I think if the Congress allocates money for military action overseas, then it is a declared war, and the President has wide reaching authority to act to defend the country in such circumstances. Don’t know how the supremes or any one else might view it.
I’m not sure that is correct. Seems like I almost remember a case from years ago where U.S. agents essentially kidnapped a fugitive on foreign soil, and brought him back here for trial. The Court did not seem especially concerned about methods used to capture the guy and/or return him to U.S. soil…
Disclaimer…maybe I am not remembering right, or am otherwise confused…
But no one says “its OK because the US gov’t can do whatever it wants overseas”. Even supporters of drone attacks don’t try and pretend the 14th Amendment stops at US borders.
The CIA can certainly tap your phone without a warrant overseas. That is, they can’t be prosecuted in a US court for doing so, although they are subject to the laws of whatever country they operate in (if they get caught, which they are supposed be good at avoiding). If you decide to travel to North Korea, you are not going to have the right to free speech.
Well, there was this guy, though in that case “US agents” consisted of “the army”. But he was tried and convicted of crimes in the US, despite the fact that he was in Panama while he was committing them. So again, its pretty clear that you can break US law even if your not physically in the US.
Yes you do. N. Korea might not recognize it, but the US gov’t can “make no laws…abridging [your] freedom of speech” whether your standing in N. Korea or Flordia. The Constitutional protection doesn’t stop at US borders.
No they wouldn’t. Well someone might say it, but no rational person would. I was only referring to that particular gray area.
Moreover, German and Japanese Americans accused of being parts of either the Japanese or German militaries overseas weren’t given civilian trials or treated any differently than German and Japanese military personnel who weren’t US citizens.
And that is the rub, isn’t it?
Homicide may be illegal in Yemen but if the US does it then is it really?
If the US government does it through due process of law, then it’s not illegal from the perspective of the US government. Not surprising that it turns out that way either.
Yes, and that is why I chose the term ‘homicide’. It seems that we have worldwide jurisdiction now.