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| | |-+  Does the Bill of Rights apply to non-citizens?
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Question: Does the Bill of Rights apply to non-citizens?
Yes   -11 (47.8%)
No   -12 (52.2%)
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Total Voters: 23

Author Topic: Does the Bill of Rights apply to non-citizens?  (Read 10562 times)
A18
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« on: September 20, 2005, 09:40:27 pm »
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By this I mean, what is the proper interpretation of the Bill of Rights?
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Jim Valvano
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2005, 09:48:28 pm »
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Based on the usage of the word "person" in the original constitution, I'd venture that they would.
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2005, 09:57:45 pm »
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While we imply that these rights are extended to everyone, Constitutionally, they apply to only citizens.  People who are non-citizens living in the US legally technically are not covered under the Constitution.
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2005, 06:02:36 am »
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Yes, as far as I can tell, it does. There is nothing in the Bill of Rights that would imply that non-citizens are not protected. But it could be argued that states are only required to observe the Bill of Rights with respect to citizens.
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Peter
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2005, 10:52:21 am »
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Parts do, parts don't, is, I believe the answer here.

Amendment I applies to everybody, except as to the last clause of it, which expressly mentions the "people", implying only the people of the United States (this is given further weight after considering the context provided by the Preamble: "We the People").

Any part of the Bill of Rights that gives reference to the "people" is therefore only meant for citizens, however, several parts do not make this qualifier, preferring instead "persons" or the "accused", which obviously has no implication of applying only to the people of the United States, so it applies to all.

Therefore, in the same vein as the last clause of the First, the Second and the Fourth also apply only to citizens.
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2005, 11:02:13 am »
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Based on the usage of the word "person" in the original constitution, I'd venture that they would.

^^ yeah, person doesn't mean citizen, so it does when it says person.
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2005, 11:50:47 am »
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Based on the usage of the word "person" in the original constitution, I'd venture that they would.

^^ yeah, person doesn't mean citizen, so it does when it says person.

Actually, "people" or "person" is defined in the first sentance of the Constitution.  "We the People of the United States..."  So, in order to be a person of the United States, you need to be a citizen.  Otherwise, the Native Americans would have had the same protections under the Constitution at the time of drafting, which they didn't.
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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2005, 02:14:50 pm »
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Actually, "people" or "person" is defined in the first sentance of the Constitution.  "We the People of the United States..."  So, in order to be a person of the United States, you need to be a citizen.  Otherwise, the Native Americans would have had the same protections under the Constitution at the time of drafting, which they didn't.
No, with respect, "citizen"/"People" and "person" are not the same. See the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects the privileges and immunities of "citizens," but the due process rights of all "persons."
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2005, 02:46:58 pm »
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Actually, "people" or "person" is defined in the first sentance of the Constitution.  "We the People of the United States..."  So, in order to be a person of the United States, you need to be a citizen.  Otherwise, the Native Americans would have had the same protections under the Constitution at the time of drafting, which they didn't.
No, with respect, "citizen"/"People" and "person" are not the same. See the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects the privileges and immunities of "citizens," but the due process rights of all "persons."

However, the Fourteen Amendment is not a part of the Bill of Rights, and we need to look at it from that aspect.  At the time the Bill of Rights were written, the authors were looking from the aspect of citizens of the US.  Even slaves were not extended the full rights under the Bill of Rights.
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2005, 03:11:59 pm »
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However, the Fourteen Amendment is not a part of the Bill of Rights, and we need to look at it from that aspect.
I was merely challenging the assertion that a person is the same as a citizen. The Fourteenth Amendment does not stand in accord with that view. Indeed, neither is the original Constitution. For example, the Constitution refers to the "Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit," i.e., the importation of "persons" or slaves from Africa. Now, of course, these slaves (before being imported from Africa) were not citizens of the U.S; however, the Constitution still referred to them as "persons."

Slaves, being persons, were entitled to every protection offered by the Bill of Rights against the federal government. That the Congress of the time chose not to grant them is irrelevant.

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At the time the Bill of Rights were written, the authors were looking from the aspect of citizens of the US.
How can you demonstrate that? For example, how would you show that the Third Amendment only protects citizens?
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2005, 03:26:35 pm »
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At the time the Bill of Rights were written, the authors were looking from the aspect of citizens of the US.
How can you demonstrate that? For example, how would you show that the Third Amendment only protects citizens?

Quartering of soldiers?  That's easy.  How many non-citizen home-owners remained in the US following the signing of the Constitution?  Not many.  Most pro-Brit residents who rebuffed the Union left.  That leaves the pro-Union citizens behind, which as we all know, were primarily WASPs.  And, as you can see in the Amendment, it addresses owner, not resident.  For those who had to rent, they were not granted any protection from the owner who might decide to let troops stay in their home.
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2005, 03:27:50 pm »
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Quartering of soldiers?  That's easy.  How many non-citizen home-owners remained in the US following the signing of the Constitution?  Not many.
It does not follow that the Third Amendment only protects citizens, as you suggest. Such a reading of any part of the Bill of Rights (except perhaps parts that refer to "people," like the Second Amendment) ignores the plain meaning.
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2005, 03:51:31 pm »
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Quartering of soldiers?  That's easy.  How many non-citizen home-owners remained in the US following the signing of the Constitution?  Not many.
It does not follow that the Third Amendment only protects citizens, as you suggest. Such a reading of any part of the Bill of Rights (except perhaps parts that refer to "people," like the Second Amendment) ignores the plain meaning.

No, it doesn't.  That's why I asked who were the home owners back then?  Hardly any non-citizens were home owners since the pro-Brit folks primarily migrated back to Europe. 
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2005, 03:52:14 pm »
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But it could be argued that states are only required to observe the Bill of Rights with respect to citizens.
Upon rereading the 14th Amendment, it appears that this incongruity is avoided by the Equal Protection Clause. While the privileges and immunities clause does only refer to "citizens," if a state (for example) inflicts a cruel and unusual punishment on a non-citizen, then it has denied to that person the equal protection of the laws.

To those who would deny all rights to non-citizens: I would say that this interpretation has no support whatsoever in the Constitution. For example, the 3rd Amendment refers to "the Owner," the 5th to any "person," the 6th to the "accused," and so forth. There is absolutely nothing whatsoever to indicate that these rights are only restricted to citizens. With all due respect, I think that this argument is but a fiction.

To those who differentiate between the "People" and "persons," I would ask, what the justification is for making this distinction? For example, in the 4th Amendment ("The right of the people to be secure in their persons..."), the use of "people" may have been just to avoid the awkward formation "The right of persons to be secure in their persons..." If there is anything in the writings of Madison or in the congressional debates that supports this distinction, then perhaps I would accept it, but as it stands, I don't see why "people" necessarily means only "citizens of the United States."
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