CITES BY TOPIC:  extraterritorial jurisdiction

Law and Government Topic, Section 9.3: Extraterritorial Jurisiction


U.S. Attorneys Bulletin, Volume 55, No. 2, March 2007: Extraterritorial Issues-Very important issue:


Wikipedia:  Extraterritorial Jurisdiction


Answers.com: Extraterritorial Jurisdiction


18 U.S.C. 3042: Extraterritorial Jurisdiction


PDF Global Reach, Local Grasp: Constructing Extraterritorial Jurisdiction in the Age of Globalization-legal research paper


PDF Constitutional Limits on Extraterritorial Jurisdiction: Terrorism and the Intersection of National and International Law-Harvard Law Review


18 U.S.C. Chapter 212: Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction


18 U.S.C. Chapter 209: Extradition


U.S. Atty Manual, Title 9, Criminal Resource Manual, Section 1617: Extraterritorial Criminal Jurisdiction


U.S. Atty Manual, Title 9, Criminal Resource Manual, Section 9-65.000: Protection of Government Officials


U.S. Atty Manual, Title 9, Criminal Resource Manual, Section 1514: U.S. Identification Documents


U.S. Atty Manual, Title 9, Criminal Resource Manual, Section 5: Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons


Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714, 24 L.Ed. 565 (1877)

The several States of the Union are not, it is true, in every respect independent, many of the right and powers which originally belonged to them being now vested in the government created by the Constitution. But, except as restrained and limited by that instrument, they possess and exercise the authority of independent States, and the principles of public law to which we have referred are applicable to them. One of these principles is, that every State possesses exclusive jurisdiction and sovereignty over persons and property within its territory. As a consequence, every State has the power to determine for itself the civil status and capacities of its inhabitants; to prescribe the subjects upon which they may contract, the forms and solemnities with which their contracts shall be executed, the rights and obligations arising from them, and the mode in which their validity shall be determined and their obligations enforced; and also the regulate the manner and conditions upon which property situated within such territory, both personal and real, may be acquired, enjoyed, and transferred. The other principle of public law referred to follows from the one mentioned; that is, that no State can exercise direct jurisdiction and authority over persons or property without its territory. Story, Confl. Laws, c. 2; Wheat. Int. Law, pt. 2, c. 2. The several States are of equal dignity and authority, and the independence of one implies the exclusion of power from all others. And so it is laid down by jurists, as an elementary principle, that the laws of one State have no operation outside of its territory, except so far as is allowed by comity; and that no tribunal established by it can extend its process beyond that territory so as to subject either persons or property to its decisions. 'Any exertion of authority of this sort beyond this limit,' says Story, 'is a mere nullity, and incapable of binding such persons or property in any other tribunals.' Story, Confl. Laws, sect. 539.

But as contracts made in one State may be enforceable only in another State, and property may be held by non-residents, the exercise of the jurisdiction which every State is admitted to possess over persons and property within its own territory will often affect persons and property without it. To any influence exerted in t is way by a State affecting persons resident or property situated elsewhere, no objection can be justly taken; whilst any direct exertion of authority upon them, in an attempt to give ex-territorial operation to its laws, or to enforce an ex-territorial jurisdiction by its tribunals, would be deemed an encroachment upon the independence of the State in which the persons are domiciled or the property is situated, and be resisted as usurpation.

Thus the State, through its tribunals, may compel persons domiciled within its limits to execute, in pursuance of their contracts respecting property elsewhere situated, instruments in such form and with such solemnities as to transfer the title, so far as such formalities can be complied with; and the exercise of this jurisdiction in no manner interferes with the supreme control over the property by the State within which it is situated. Penn v. Lord Baltimore, 1 Ves. 444; Massie v. Watts, 6 Cranch, 148; Watkins v. Holman, 16 Pet. Corbett v. Nutt, 10 Wall. 464.

So the State, through its tribunals, may subject property situated within its limits owned by non-residents to the payment of the demand of its own citizens against them; and the exercise of this jurisdiction in no respect infringes upon the sovereignty of the State where the owners are domiciled. Every State owes protection to its own citizens; and, when non-residents deal with them, it is a legitimate and just exercise of authority to hold and appropriate any property owned by such non-residents to satisfy the claims of its citizens. It is in virtue of the State's jurisdiction over the property of the non-resident situated within its limits that its tribunals can inquire into that non-resident's obligations to its own citizens, and the inquiry can then be carried only to the extent necessary to control the disposition of the property. If the non-resident have no property in the State, there is nothing upon which the tribunals can adjudicate.

These views are not new. They have been frequently expressed, with more or less distinctness, in opinions of eminent judges, and have been carried into adjudications in numerous cases. Thus, in Picquet v. Swan, 5 Mas. 35, Mr. Justice Story said:——

'Where a party is within a territory, he may justly be subjected to its process, and bound personally by the judgment pronounced on such process against him. Where he is not within such territory, and is not personally subject to its laws, if, on account of his supposed or actual property being within the territory, process by the local laws may, by attachment, go to compel his appearance, and for his default to appear judgment may be pronounced against him, such a judgment must, upon general principles, be deemed only to bind him to the extent of such property, and cannot have the effect of a conclusive judgment in personam, for the plain reason, that, except so far as the property is concerned, it is a judgment coram non judice.'

[Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714, 24 L.Ed. 565 (1877)]


U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 110 S.Ct. 1056 (U.S.Cal.,1990)

In cases involving the extraterritorial application of the Constitution, we have taken care to state whether the person claiming its protection is a citizen, see, e.g., Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1, 77 S.Ct. 1222, 1 L.Ed.2d 1148 (1957), or an alien, see, e.g., Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U.S. 763, 70 S.Ct. 936, 94 L.Ed. 1255 (1950). The distinction between citizens and aliens follows from the undoubted proposition that the Constitution does not create, nor do general principles of law create, any juridical relation between our country and some undefined, limitless class of noncitizens who are beyond our territory. We should note, however, that the absence of *276 this relation does not depend on the idea that only a limited class of persons ratified the instrument that formed our Government. Though it must be beyond dispute that persons outside the United States did not and could not assent to the Constitution, that is quite irrelevant to any construction of the powers conferred or the limitations imposed by it. As Justice Story explained in his Commentaries:
 
“A government may originate in the voluntary compact or assent of the people of several states, or of a people never before united, and yet when adopted and ratified by them, be no longer a matter resting in compact; but become an executed government or constitution, a fundamental law, and not a mere league. But the difficulty in asserting it to be a compact between the people of each state, and all the people of the other states is, that the constitution **1067 itself contains no such expression, and no such designation of parties.” 1 Commentaries on the Constitution 365, p. 335 (1833) (footnote omitted).

The force of the Constitution is not confined because it was brought into being by certain persons who gave their immediate assent to its terms.

 
For somewhat similar reasons, I cannot place any weight on the reference to “the people” in the Fourth Amendment as a source of restricting its protections. With respect, I submit these words do not detract from its force or its reach. Given the history of our Nation's concern over warrantless and unreasonable searches, explicit recognition of “the right of the people” to Fourth Amendment protection may be interpreted to underscore the importance of the right, rather than to restrict the category of persons who may assert it. The restrictions that the United States must observe with reference to aliens beyond its territory or jurisdiction depend, as a consequence, on general principles of interpretation, not on an inquiry as to who formed the Constitution or a construction that some rights are mentioned as being those of “the people.”
 
*277 I take it to be correct, as the plurality opinion in Reid v. Covert sets forth, that the Government may act only as the Constitution authorizes, whether the actions in question are foreign or domestic. See 354 U.S., at 6, 77 S.Ct., at 1225. But this principle is only a first step in resolving this case. The question before us then becomes what constitutional standards apply when the Government acts, in reference to an alien, within its sphere of foreign operations. We have not overruled either In re Ross, 140 U.S. 453, 11 S.Ct. 897, 35 L.Ed. 581 (1891), or the so-called Insular Cases ( i.e., Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244, 21 S.Ct. 770, 45 L.Ed. 1088 (1901); Hawaii v. Mankichi, 190 U.S. 197, 23 S.Ct. 787, 47 L.Ed. 1016 (1903); Dorr v. United States, 195 U.S. 138, 24 S.Ct. 808, 49 L.Ed. 128 (1904); Balzac v. Porto Rico, 258 U.S. 298, 42 S.Ct. 343, 66 L.Ed. 627 (1922)). These authorities, as well as United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., 299 U.S. 304, 318, 57 S.Ct. 216, 220, 81 L.Ed. 255 (1936), stand for the proposition that we must interpret constitutional protections in light of the undoubted power of the United States to take actions to assert its legitimate power and authority abroad. Justice Harlan made this observation in his opinion concurring in the judgment in Reid v. Covert:
 
“I cannot agree with the suggestion that every provision of the Constitution must always be deemed automatically applicable to American citizens in every part of the world. For Ross and the Insular Cases do stand for an important proposition, one which seems to me a wise and necessary gloss on our Constitution. The proposition is, of course, not that the Constitution ‘does not apply’ overseas, but that there are provisions in the Constitution which do not necessarily apply in all circumstances in every foreign place. In other words, it seems to me that the basic teaching of Ross and the Insular Cases is that there is no rigid and abstract rule that Congress, as a condition precedent to exercising power over Americans overseas, must exercise it subject to all the guarantees of the Constitution, no matter what the conditions and considerations are that would make adherence to a *278 specific guarantee altogether impracticable and anomalous.” 354 U.S., at 74, 77 S.Ct., at 1260.

 
The conditions and considerations of this case would make adherence to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement impracticable and anomalous. Just as the Constitution in the Insular Cases did not require Congress to implement all constitutional guarantees in its territories because of their “wholly dissimilar traditions and institutions,” the Constitution does not require United States agents to obtain a warrant when searching the foreign home of a nonresident alien. If the search had occurred in a residence within the United States, I have little doubt that the full protections of the **1068 Fourth Amendment would apply. But that is not this case. The absence of local judges or magistrates available to issue warrants, the differing and perhaps unascertainable conceptions of reasonableness and privacy that prevail abroad, and the need to cooperate with foreign officials all indicate that the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement should not apply in Mexico as it does in this country. For this reason, in addition to the other persuasive justifications stated by the Court, I agree that no violation of the Fourth Amendment has occurred in the case before us. The rights of a citizen, as to whom the United States has continuing obligations, are not presented by this case.
 
I do not mean to imply, and the Court has not decided, that persons in the position of the respondent have no constitutional protection. The United States is prosecuting a foreign national in a court established under Article III, and all of the trial proceedings are governed by the Constitution. All would agree, for instance, that the dictates of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment protect the defendant. Indeed, as Justice Harlan put it, “the question of which specific safeguards ... are appropriately to be applied in a particular context ... can be reduced to the issue of what process is ‘due’ a defendant in the particular circumstances of a particular case.” Reid, supra, 354 U.S., at 75, 77 S.Ct., at 1261. Nothing approaching a violation of due process has occurred in this case.
 

*279 Justice STEVENS, concurring in the judgment.
 
In my opinion aliens who are lawfully present in the United States are among those “people” who are entitled to the protection of the Bill of Rights, including the Fourth Amendment. Respondent is surely such a person even though he was brought and held here against his will. I therefore cannot join the Court's sweeping opinion.FN* I do agree, however, with the Government's submission that the search conducted by the United States agents with the approval and cooperation of the Mexican authorities was not “unreasonable” as that term is used in the first Clause of the Amendment. I do not believe the Warrant Clause has any application to searches of noncitizens' homes in foreign jurisdictions because American magistrates have no power to authorize such searches. I therefore concur in the Court's judgment.
 
FN* The Court's interesting historical discussion is simply irrelevant to the question whether an alien lawfully within the sovereign territory of the United States is entitled to the protection of our laws. Nor is comment on illegal aliens' entitlement to the protections of the Fourth Amendment necessary to resolve this case.
Justice BRENNAN, with whom Justice MARSHALL joins, dissenting.
 
Today the Court holds that although foreign nationals must abide by our laws even when in their own countries, our Government need not abide by the Fourth Amendment when it investigates them for violations of our laws. I respectfully dissent.
 
I
 
Particularly in the past decade, our Government has sought, successfully, to hold foreign nationals criminally liable under federal laws for conduct committed entirely beyond the territorial limits of the United States that nevertheless has effects *280 in this country. Foreign nationals must now take care not to violate our drug laws,FN1 our antitrust **1069 laws, FN2 our securities laws,FN3 and a host of other federal criminal statutes.FN4 The *281 enormous expansion of federal criminal jurisdiction outside our Nation's boundaries has led one commentator to suggest that our country's three largest exports are now “rock music, blue jeans, and United States law.” Grundman, The New Imperialism: The Extraterritorial Application of United States Law, 14 Int'l Law. 257, 257 (1980).
FN1. Federal drug enforcement statutes written broadly enough to permit extraterritorial application include laws proscribing the manufacture, distribution, or possession with intent to manufacture or distribute of controlled substances on board vessels, see 46 U.S.C.App. 1903(h) (1982 ed., Supp. V) (“This section is intended to reach acts ... committed outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States”), the possession, manufacture, or distribution of a controlled substance for purposes of unlawful importation, see 21 U.S.C. 959(c) (same), and conspiracy to violate federal narcotics laws, see Chua Han Mow v. United States, 730 F.2d 1308, 1311-1312 (CA9 1984) (applying 21 U.S.C. 846 and 963 to conduct by a Malaysian citizen in Malaysia), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1031, 105 S.Ct. 1403, 84 L.Ed.2d 790 (1985).
FN2. The Sherman Act defines “person” to include foreign corporations, 15 U.S.C. 7, and has been applied to certain conduct beyond the territorial limits of the United States by foreign corporations and nationals for at least 45 years. See United States v. Aluminum Co. of America, 148 F.2d 416, 443-444 (CA2 1945).
FN3. Foreign corporations may be liable under 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b), for transactions that occur outside the United States if the transactions involve stock registered and listed on a national securities exchange and the alleged conduct is “detrimental to the interests of American investors.” Schoenbaum v. Firstbrook, 405 F.2d 200, 208 (CA2), rev'd on rehearing on other grounds, 405 F.2d 215 (CA2 1968) (en banc), cert. denied, 395 U.S. 906, 89 S.Ct. 1747, 23 L.Ed.2d 219 (1969).
FN4. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. 32(b) (violence against an individual aboard or destruction of any “civil aircraft registered in a country other than the United States while such aircraft is in flight”); 111 (assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees); 115 (influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a federal official by threatening or injuring a family member); 1114, 1117 (murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to murder certain federal officers and employees); 1201(a)(5) (kidnaping of federal officers and employees listed in 1114); 1201(e) (kidnaping of “an internationally protected person,” if the alleged offender is found in the United States, “irrespective of the place where the offense was committed or the nationality of the victim or the alleged offender”); 1203 (hostage taking outside the United States, if the offender or the person seized is a United States national, if the offender is found in the United States, or if “the governmental organization sought to be compelled is the Government of the United States”); 1546 (fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other immigration documents); 2331 (terrorist acts abroad against United States nationals); 49 U.S.C.App. 1472(n) (1982 ed. and Supp. V) (aircraft piracy outside the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, if the offender is found in the United States). Foreign nationals may also be criminally liable for numerous federal crimes falling within the “special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States,” which includes “[a]ny place outside the jurisdiction of any nation with respect to an offense by or against a national of the United States.” 18 U.S.C. 7(7). Finally, broad construction of federal conspiracy statutes may permit prosecution of foreign nationals who have had no direct contact with anyone or anything in the United States. See Ford v. United States, 273 U.S. 593, 619-620, 47 S.Ct. 531, 539-540, 71 L.Ed. 793 (1927).
The Constitution is the source of Congress' authority to criminalize conduct, whether here or abroad, and of the Executive's authority to investigate and prosecute such conduct. But the same Constitution also prescribes limits on our Government's authority to investigate, prosecute, and punish criminal conduct, whether foreign or domestic. As a plurality of the Court noted in Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1, 5-6, 77 S.Ct. 1222, 1224-25, 1 L.Ed.2d 1148 (1957): “The United States is entirely a creature of the Constitution. Its power and authority have no other source. It can only act in accordance with all the limitations imposed by the Constitution.” (Footnotes omitted.) See also ante, at 1067 (KENNEDY, J., concurring) (“[T]he Government may act only as the Constitution authorizes, whether the actions in question are foreign or domestic”). In particular, the Fourth Amendment provides:
 
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by *282 Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
 
The Court today creates an antilogy: the Constitution authorizes our Government to enforce our criminal laws abroad, but when **1070 Government agents exercise this authority, the Fourth Amendment does not travel with them. This cannot be. At the very least, the Fourth Amendment is an unavoidable correlative of the Government's power to enforce the criminal law.
 
A
 
The Fourth Amendment guarantees the right of “the people” to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and provides that a warrant shall issue only upon presentation of an oath or affirmation demonstrating probable cause and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. According to the majority, the term “the people” refers to “a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community.” Ante, at 1061. The Court admits that “the people” extends beyond the citizenry, but leaves the precise contours of its “sufficient connection” test unclear. At one point the majority hints that aliens are protected by the Fourth Amendment only when they come within the United States and develop “substantial connections” with our country. Ante, at 1064. At other junctures, the Court suggests that an alien's presence in the United States must be voluntary FN5 and that the alien must have “accepted some societal*283 obligations.” FN6 Ante, at 1065. At yet other points, the majority implies that respondent would be protected by the Fourth Amendment if the place searched were in the United States.FN7 Ante, at 1061, 1065-1066.
FN5. None of the cases cited by the majority, ante, at 1064, requires an alien's connections to the United States to be “voluntary” before the alien can claim the benefits of the Constitution. Indeed, Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U.S. 67, 77, 96 S.Ct. 1883, 1890, 48 L.Ed.2d 478 (1976), explicitly rejects the notion that an individual's connections to the United States must be voluntary or sustained to qualify for constitutional protection. Furthermore, even if a voluntariness requirement were sensible in cases guaranteeing certain governmental benefits to illegal aliens, e.g., Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 102 S.Ct. 2382, 72 L.Ed.2d 786 (1982) (holding that States cannot deny to illegal aliens the free public education they provide to citizens and legally documented aliens), it is not a sensible requirement when our Government chooses to impose our criminal laws on others.
FN6. In this discussion, the Court implicitly suggests that the Fourth Amendment may not protect illegal aliens in the United States. Ante, at 1065. Numerous lower courts, however, have held that illegal aliens in the United States are protected by the Fourth Amendment, and not a single lower court has held to the contrary. See, e.g., Benitez-Mendez v. INS, 760 F.2d 907 (CA9 1985); United States v. Rodriguez, 532 F.2d 834, 838 (CA2 1976); Au Yi Lau v. INS, 144 U.S.App.D.C. 147, 156, 445 F.2d 217, 225, cert. denied, 404 U.S. 864, 92 S.Ct. 64, 30 L.Ed.2d 108 (1971); Yam Sang Kwai v. INS, 133 U.S.App.D.C. 369, 372, 411 F.2d 683, 686, cert. denied, 396 U.S. 877, 90 S.Ct. 148, 24 L.Ed.2d 135 (1969).
FN7. The Fourth Amendment contains no express or implied territorial limitations, and the majority does not hold that the Fourth Amendment is inapplicable to searches outside the United States and its territories. It holds that respondent is not protected by the Fourth Amendment because he is not one of “the people.” Indeed, the majority's analysis implies that a foreign national who had “developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of [our] community” would be protected by the Fourth Amendment regardless of the location of the search. Certainly nothing in the Court's opinion questions the validity of the rule, accepted by every Court of Appeals to have considered the question, that the Fourth Amendment applies to searches conducted by the United States Government against United States citizens abroad. See, e.g., United States v. Conroy, 589 F.2d 1258, 1264 (CA5), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 831, 100 S.Ct. 60, 62 L.Ed.2d 40 (1979); United States v. Rose, 570 F.2d 1358, 1362 (CA9 1978). A warrantless, unreasonable search and seizure is no less a violation of the Fourth Amendment because it occurs in Mexicali, Mexico, rather than Calexico, California.
What the majority ignores, however, is the most obvious connection between Verdugo-Urquidez and the United States: he was investigated and is being prosecuted for violations of United States law and may well spend the rest of his life in a United States prison. The “sufficient connection” is supplied not by Verdugo-Urquidez, but by the Government. *284 Respondent is entitled to the protections of the Fourth Amendment **1071 because our Government, by investigating him and attempting to hold him accountable under United States criminal laws, has treated him as a member of our community for purposes of enforcing our laws. He has become, quite literally, one of the governed. Fundamental fairness and the ideals underlying our Bill of Rights compel the conclusion that when we impose “societal obligations,” ante, at 1065, such as the obligation to comply with our criminal laws, on foreign nationals, we in turn are obliged to respect certain correlative rights, among them the Fourth Amendment.

 

By concluding that respondent is not one of “the people” protected by the Fourth Amendment, the majority disregards basic notions of mutuality. If we expect aliens to obey our laws, aliens should be able to expect that we will obey our Constitution when we investigate, prosecute, and punish them. We have recognized this fundamental principle of mutuality since the time of the Framers. James Madison, universally recognized as the primary architect of the Bill of Rights, emphasized the importance of mutuality when he spoke out against the Alien and Sedition Acts less than a decade after the adoption of the Fourth Amendment:
 
“[I]t does not follow, because aliens are not parties to the Constitution, as citizens are parties to it, that, whilst they actually conform to it, they have no right to its protection. Aliens are no more parties to the laws than they are parties to the Constitution; yet it will not be disputed that, as they owe, on one hand, a temporary obedience, they are entitled, in return, to their protection and advantage.” Madison's Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1800), reprinted in 4 Elliot's Debates 556 (2d ed. 1836).
 
Mutuality is essential to ensure the fundamental fairness that underlies our Bill of Rights. Foreign nationals investigated and prosecuted for alleged violations of United States criminal laws are just as vulnerable to oppressive Government*285 behavior as are United States citizens investigated and prosecuted for the same alleged violations. Indeed, in a case such as this where the Government claims the existence of an international criminal conspiracy, citizens and foreign nationals may be codefendants, charged under the same statutes for the same conduct and facing the same penalties if convicted. They may have been investigated by the same agents pursuant to the same enforcement authority. When our Government holds these codefendants to the same standards of conduct, the Fourth Amendment, which protects the citizen from unreasonable searches and seizures, should protect the foreign national as well.
 
Mutuality also serves to inculcate the values of law and order. By respecting the rights of foreign nationals, we encourage other nations to respect the rights of our citizens. Moreover, as our Nation becomes increasingly concerned about the domestic effects of international crime, we cannot forget that the behavior of our law enforcement agents abroad sends a powerful message about the rule of law to individuals everywhere. As Justice Brandeis warned in Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 48 S.Ct. 564, 72 L.Ed. 944 (1928):
 
“If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means ... would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine, this Court should resolutely set its face. Id., at 485, 48 S.Ct., at 575 (dissenting opinion).
 
This principle is no different when the United States applies its rules of conduct to foreign nationals. If we seek respect for law and order, we must observe these principles ourselves. Lawlessness breeds lawlessness.
 
Finally, when United States agents conduct unreasonable searches, whether at home or abroad, they disregard our Nation's values. For over 200 years, our country has **1072 considered itself the world's foremost protector of liberties. The *286 privacy and sanctity of the home have been primary tenets of our moral, philosophical, and judicial beliefs. FN8 Our national interest is defined by those values and by the need to preserve our own just institutions. We take pride in our commitment to a Government that cannot, on mere whim, break down doors and invade the most personal of places. We exhort other nations to follow our example. How can we explain to others-and to ourselves-that these long cherished ideals are suddenly of no consequence when the door being broken belongs to a foreigner?
 
FN8. President John Adams traced the origins of our independence from England to James Otis' impassioned argument in 1761 against the British writs of assistance, which allowed revenue officers to search American homes wherever and whenever they wanted. Otis argued that “[a] man's house is his castle,” 2 Works of John Adams 524 (C. Adams ed. 1850), and Adams declared that “[t]hen and there the child Independence was born.” 10 Works of John Adams 248 (C. Adams ed. 1856).
The majority today brushes aside the principles of mutuality and fundamental fairness that are central to our Nation's constitutional conscience. The Court articulates a “sufficient connection” test but then refuses to discuss the underlying principles upon which any interpretation of that test must rest. I believe that by placing respondent among those governed by federal criminal laws and investigating him for violations of those laws, the Government has made him a part of our community for purposes of the Fourth Amendment.
 
B
 
In its effort to establish that respondent does not have sufficient connection to the United States to be considered one of “the people” protected by the Fourth Amendment, the Court relies on the text of the Amendment, historical evidence, and cases refusing to apply certain constitutional provisions outside the United States. None of these, however, justifies the majority's cramped interpretation of the Fourth Amendment's applicability.

 
*287 The majority looks to various constitutional provisions and suggests that “ ‘the people’ seems to have been a term of art.” Ante, at 1059-1060. But the majority admits that its “textual exegesis is by no means conclusive.” Ante, at 1061.FN9 One Member of the majority even states that he “cannot place any weight on the reference to ‘the people’ in the Fourth Amendment as a source of restricting its protections.” Ante, at 1067 (KENNEDY, J., concurring). The majority suggests a restrictive interpretation of those with “sufficient connection” to this country to be considered among “the people,” but the term “the people” is better understood as a rhetorical counterpoint to “the Government,” such that rights that were reserved to “the people” were to protect all those subject to “the Government.” Cf. New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325, 335, 105 S.Ct. 733, 739, 83 L.Ed.2d 720 (1985) (“[T]he Court has long spoken of the Fourth Amendment's strictures as restraints imposed upon ‘governmental action’ ”). “ The people” are “the governed.”
 
FN9. The majority places an unsupportable reliance on the fact that the Drafters used “the people” in the Fourth Amendment while using “person” and “accused” in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments respectively, see ante, at 1061. The Drafters purposely did not use the term “accused.” As the majority recognizes, ante, at 1060, the Fourth Amendment is violated at the time of an unreasonable governmental intrusion, even if the victim of unreasonable governmental action is never formally “accused” of any wrongdoing. The majority's suggestion that the Drafters could have used “person” ignores the fact that the Fourth Amendment then would have begun quite awkwardly: “The right of persons to be secure in their persons....”
In drafting both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Framers strove to create a form of Government decidedly different from their British heritage. Whereas the British Parliament was unconstrained, the Framers intended to create a Government of limited powers. See B. Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution 182 (1967); **1073 1 The Complete Anti-Federalist 65 (H. Storing ed. 1981). The colonists considered the British Government dangerously omnipotent. After all, the British declaration of rights in *288 1688 had been enacted not by the people, but by Parliament. The Federalist No. 84, p. 439 (M. Beloff ed. 1987). Americans vehemently attacked the notion that rights were matters of “ ‘favor and grace,’ ” given to the people from the Government. B. Bailyn, supra, at 187 (quoting John Dickinson).
 
Thus, the Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to “create” rights. Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be pre-existing. See, e.g., U.S. Const., Amdt. 9 (“The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”). The Fourth Amendment, for example, does not create a new right of security against unreasonable searches and seizures. It states that “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated....” The focus of the Fourth Amendment is on what the Government can and cannot do, and how it may act, not on against whom these actions may be taken. Bestowing rights and delineating protected groups would have been inconsistent with the Drafters' fundamental conception of a Bill of Rights as a limitation on the Government's conduct with respect to all whom it seeks to govern. It is thus extremely unlikely that the Framers intended the narrow construction of the term “the people” presented today by the majority.
 
The drafting history of the Fourth Amendment also does not support the majority's interpretation of “the people.” First, the Drafters chose not to limit the right against unreasonable searches and seizures in more specific ways. They could have limited the right to “citizens,” “freemen,” “residents,” or “the American people.” The conventions called to ratify the Constitution in New York and Virginia, for example, each recommended an amendment stating, “That every freeman has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures....” W. Cuddihy, Search and Seizurein *289 Great Britain and the American Colonies, pt. 2, p. 571, n. 129, 574, n. 134 (1974). But the Drafters of the Fourth Amendment rejected this limitation and instead provided broadly for “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects.” Second, historical materials contain no evidence that the Drafters intended to limit the availability of the right expressed in the Fourth Amendment.FN10 The Amendment was introduced on the floor of Congress, considered**1074 by Committee, debated by the House of Representatives and the Senate, and submitted to the 13 States for approval. Throughout that entire process, no speaker or commentator, pro or con, referred to the term “the people” as a limitation.
 
FN10. The only historical evidence the majority sets forth in support of its restrictive interpretation of the Fourth Amendment involves the seizure of French vessels during an “undeclared war” with France in 1798 and 1799. Because opinions in two Supreme Court cases, Little v. Barreme, 2 Cranch 170, 2 L.Ed. 243 (1804), and Talbot v. Seeman, 1 Cranch 1, 2 L.Ed. 15 (1801), “never suggested that the Fourth Amendment restrained the authority of Congress or of United States agents to conduct operations such as this,” ante, at 1062, the majority deduces that those alive when the Fourth Amendment was adopted did not believe it protected foreign nationals. Relying on the absence of any discussion of the Fourth Amendment in these decisions, however, runs directly contrary to the majority's admonition that the Court only truly decides that which it “expressly address[es].” Ante, at 1064 (discussing INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032, 104 S.Ct. 3479, 82 L.Ed.2d 778 (1984)). Moreover, the Court in Little found that the American commander had violated the statute authorizing seizures, thus rendering any discussion of the constitutional question superfluous. See, e.g., Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U.S. 288, 347, 56 S.Ct. 466, 483, 80 L.Ed. 688 (1936) (Brandeis, J., concurring). And in Talbot, the vessel's owners opposed the seizure on purely factual grounds, claiming the vessel was not French. Furthermore, although neither Little nor Talbot expressly mentions the Fourth Amendment, both opinions adopt a “probable cause” standard, suggesting that the Court may have either applied or been informed by the Fourth Amendment's standards of conduct. Little, supra, at 2 Cranch 179; Talbot, supra, 1 Cranch at 31-32 (declaring that “where there is probable cause to believe the vessel met with at sea is in the condition of one liable to capture, it is lawful to take her, and subject her to the examination and adjudication of the courts”).
*290 The Court also relies on a series of cases dealing with the application of criminal procedural protections outside of the United States to conclude that “not every constitutional provision applies to governmental activity even where the United States has sovereign power.” Ante, at 1062. None of these cases, however, purports to read the phrase “the people” as limiting the protections of the Fourth Amendment to those with “sufficient connection” to the United States, and thus none gives content to the majority's analysis. The cases shed no light on the question whether respondent-a citizen of a nonenemy nation being tried in a United States federal court-is one of “the people” protected by the Fourth Amendment.
 
The majority mischaracterizes Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U.S. 763, 70 S.Ct. 936, 94 L.Ed. 1255 (1950), as having “rejected the claim that aliens are entitled to Fifth Amendment rights outside the sovereign territory of the United States.” Ante, at 1063. In Johnson, 21 German nationals were convicted of engaging in continued military activity against the United States after the surrender of Germany and before the surrender of Japan in World War II. The Court held that “the Constitution does not confer a right of personal security or an immunity from military trial and punishment upon an alien enemy engaged in the hostile service of a government at war with the United States.” 339 U.S., at 785, 70 S.Ct., at 947 (emphasis added). As the Court wrote:
 
“It is war that exposes the relative vulnerability of the alien's status. The security and protection enjoyed while the nation of his allegiance remains in amity with the United States are greatly impaired when his nation takes up arms against us.... But disabilities this country lays upon the alien who becomes also an enemy are imposed temporarily as an incident of war and not as an incident of alienage. Id., at 771-772, 70 S.Ct., at 940.
 
*291 The Court rejected the German nationals' efforts to obtain writs of habeas corpus not because they were foreign nationals, but because they were enemy soldiers.
 
The Insular Cases, Balzac v. Porto Rico, 258 U.S. 298, 42 S.Ct. 343, 66 L.Ed. 627 (1922), Ocampo v. United States, 234 U.S. 91, 34 S.Ct. 712, 58 L.Ed. 1231 (1914), Dorr v. United States, 195 U.S. 138, 24 S.Ct. 808, 49 L.Ed. 128 (1904), and Hawaii v. Mankichi, 190 U.S. 197, 23 S.Ct. 787, 47 L.Ed. 1016 (1903), are likewise inapposite. The Insular Cases all concerned whether accused persons enjoyed the protections of certain rights in criminal prosecutions brought by territorial authorities in territorial courts. These cases were limited to their facts long ago, see Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S., at 14, 77 S.Ct., at 1229 (plurality opinion) (“[I]t is our judgment that neither the cases nor their reasoning should be given any further expansion”), and they are of no analytical value when a criminal defendant seeks to invoke the Fourth Amendment in a prosecution by the Federal Government in a federal court. FN11
 
FN11. The last of the Insular Cases cited by the majority, Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244, 21 S.Ct. 770, 45 L.Ed. 1088 (1901), is equally irrelevant. In Downes, the Court held that Puerto Rico was not part of “the United States” with respect to the constitutional provision that “all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States,” U.S. Const., Art. I, 8, cl. 1. 182 U.S., at 249, 21 S.Ct., at 772. Unlike the Uniform Duties Clause, the Fourth Amendment contains no express territorial limitations. See n. 7, supra.
The majority's rejection of respondent's claim to Fourth Amendment protection is apparently motivated by its fear that application of the Amendment to law enforcement searches against foreign nationals overseas **1075 “could significantly disrupt the ability of the political branches to respond to foreign situations involving our national interest.” Ante, at 1065. The majority's doomsday scenario-that American Armed Forces conducting a mission to protect our national security with no law enforcement objective “would have to articulate specific facts giving them probable cause to undertake a search or seizure,” ante, at 1066-is fanciful. Verdugo-Urquidez is protected by the Fourth Amendment *292 because our Government, by investigating and prosecuting him, has made him one of “the governed.” See supra, at 1070, 1072. Accepting respondent as one of “the governed,” however, hardly requires the Court to accept enemy aliens in wartime as among “the governed” entitled to invoke the protection of the Fourth Amendment. See Johnson v. Eisentrager, supra.
 
Moreover, with respect to non-law-enforcement activities not directed against enemy aliens in wartime but nevertheless implicating national security, doctrinal exceptions to the general requirements of a warrant and probable cause likely would be applicable more frequently abroad, thus lessening the purported tension between the Fourth Amendment's strictures and the Executive's foreign affairs power. Many situations involving sensitive operations abroad likely would involve exigent circumstances such that the warrant requirement would be excused. Cf. Warden v. Hayden, 387 U.S. 294, 298, 87 S.Ct. 1642, 1645-46, 18 L.Ed.2d 782 (1967). Therefore, the Government's conduct would be assessed only under the reasonableness standard, the application of which depends on context. See United States v. Montoya de Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 537, 105 S.Ct. 3304, 3308, 87 L.Ed.2d 381 (1985) (“What is reasonable depends upon all of the circumstances surrounding the search or seizure and the nature of the search or seizure itself”).
 
In addition, where the precise contours of a “reasonable” search and seizure are unclear, the Executive Branch will not be “plunge[d] ... into a sea of uncertainty,” ante, at 1065-1066, that will impair materially its ability to conduct foreign affairs. Doctrines such as official immunity have long protected Government agents from any undue chill on the exercise of lawful discretion. See, e.g., Butz v. Economou, 438 U.S. 478, 98 S.Ct. 2894, 57 L.Ed.2d 895 (1978). Similarly, the Court has recognized that there may be certain situations in which the offensive use of constitutional rights should be limited. Cf. Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388, 396, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 2005, 29 L.Ed.2d 619 (1971) (precluding suits for damages for violations of the Fourth Amendment where there are “special factors *293 counselling hesitation”). In most cases implicating foreign policy concerns in which the reasonableness of an overseas search or seizure is unclear, application of the Fourth Amendment will not interfere with the Executive's traditional prerogative in foreign affairs because a court will have occasion to decide the constitutionality of such a search only if the Executive decides to bring a criminal prosecution and introduce evidence seized abroad. When the Executive decides to conduct a search as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, fails to get a warrant, and then seeks to introduce the fruits of that search at trial, however, the courts must enforce the Constitution.
 
II
 
Because the Fourth Amendment governs the search of respondent's Mexican residences, the District Court properly suppressed the evidence found in that search because the officers conducting the search did not obtain a warrant. FN12 I cannot agree **1076 with Justice BLACKMUN and Justice STEVENS that the Warrant Clause has no application to searches *294 of noncitizens' homes in foreign jurisdictions because American magistrates lack the power to authorize such searches.FN13 See post, at 1078 (BLACKMUN, J., dissenting); ante, at 1068 (STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment). The Warrant Clause would serve the same primary functions abroad as it does domestically, and I see no reason to distinguish between foreign and domestic searches.
 
FN12. The District Court found no exigent circumstances that would justify a warrantless search. After respondent's arrest in Mexico, he was transported to the United States and held in custody in southern California. Only after respondent was in custody in the United States did the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) begin preparations for a search of his Mexican residences. On the night respondent was arrested, DEA Agent Terry Bowen contacted DEA Special Agent Walter White in Mexico to seek his assistance in conducting the search. Special Agent White contacted Mexican officials the next morning and at 1 p.m. authorized Agent Bowen to conduct the search. A team of DEA agents then drove to Mexico, met with Mexican officials, and arrived at the first of respondent's two residences after dark. 856 F.2d 1214, 1226 (CA9 1988). The search did not begin until approximately 10 p.m. the day after respondent was taken into custody. App. to Pet. for Cert. 101a. In all that time, particularly when respondent and Agent Bowen were both in the United States and Agent Bowen was awaiting further communications from Special Agent White, DEA agents could easily have sought a warrant from a United States Magistrate.
FN13. Justice STEVENS concurs in the judgment because he believes that the search in this case “was not ‘unreasonable’ as that term is used in the first Clause of the Amendment.” Ante, at 1068. I do not understand why Justice STEVENS reaches the reasonableness question in the first instance rather than remanding that issue to the Court of Appeals. The District Court found that, even if a warrant were not required for this search, the search was nevertheless unreasonable. The court found that the search was unconstitutionally general in its scope, as the agents were not limited by any precise written or oral descriptions of the type of documentary evidence sought. App. to Pet. for Cert. 102a. Furthermore, the Government demonstrated no specific exigent circumstances that would justify the increased intrusiveness of searching respondent's residences between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., rather than during the day. Id., at 101a. Finally, the DEA agents who conducted the search did not prepare contemporaneous inventories of the items seized or leave receipts to inform the residents of the search and the items seized. Id., at 102a. Because the Court of Appeals found that the search violated the Warrant Clause, it never reviewed the District Court's alternative holding that the search was unreasonable even if no warrant were required. Thus, even if I agreed with Justice STEVENS that the Warrant Clause did not apply in this case, I would remand to the Court of Appeals for consideration of whether the search was unreasonable. Barring a detailed review of the record, I think it is inappropriate to draw any conclusion about the reasonableness of the Government's conduct, particularly when the conclusion reached contradicts the specific findings of the District Court.

 
Justice KENNEDY rejects application of the Warrant Clause not because of the identity of the individual seeking protection, but because of the location of the search. See ante, at 1068 (concurring opinion) (“[T]he Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement should not apply in Mexico as it does in this country”). Justice KENNEDY, however, never explains why the Reasonableness Clause, as opposed to the Warrant Clause, would not apply to searches abroad.
 
The primary purpose of the warrant requirement is its assurance of neutrality. As Justice Jackson stated for *295 the Court in Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14, 68 S.Ct. 367, 369, 92 L.Ed. 436 (1948) (footnotes omitted):
 
“The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime. Any assumption that evidence sufficient to support a magistrate's disinterested determination to issue a search warrant will justify the officers in making a search without a warrant would reduce the Amendment to a nullity and leave the people's homes secure only in the discretion of police officers.... When the right of privacy must reasonably yield to the right of search is, as a rule, to be decided by a judicial officer, not by a policeman or government enforcement agent.
 
The Warrant Clause cannot be ignored simply because Congress has not given any United States magistrate authority to issue search warrants for foreign searches. See Fed. Rule Crim.Proc. 41(a). Congress cannot define the contours of the Constitution. If the Warrant Clause applies, Congress cannot excise the Clause from the Constitution by failing to provide a means for United States agents to obtain a warrant. See Best v. United States, 184 F.2d 131, 138 (CA1 1950) (“Obviously, Congress may not nullify the guarantees of the Fourth Amendment by the simple expedient of *296 not empowering any judicial officer to act on an application for a warrant”), cert. denied, 340 U.S. 939, 71 S.Ct. 480, 95 L.Ed. 677 (1951).
 
Nor is the Warrant Clause inapplicable merely because a warrant from a United States magistrate could not “authorize” a search in a foreign country. Although this may be true as a matter of international law, it is irrelevant to our interpretation of the Fourth Amendment. As a matter of United States constitutional law, a warrant serves the same primary function overseas as it does domestically: it assures that a neutral magistrate has authorized the search and limited its scope. The need to protect those suspected of criminal activity from the unbridled discretion of investigating officers is no less important abroad than at home.FN14
 
FN14. The United States Government has already recognized the importance of these constitutional requirements by adopting a warrant requirement for certain foreign searches. Department of the Army regulations state that the Army must seek a “judicial warrant” from a United States court whenever the Army seeks to intercept the wire or oral communications of a person not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice outside of the United States and its territories. Army Regulation 190-53 2-2(b) (1986). Any request for a judicial warrant must be supported by sufficient facts to meet the probable-cause standard applied to interceptions of wire or oral communications in the United States, 18 U.S.C. 2518(3). Army Regulation 190-53 2-2(b). If the foreign country in which the interception will occur has certain requirements that must be met before other nations can intercept wire or oral communications, an American judicial warrant will not alone authorize the interception under international law. Nevertheless, the Army has recognized that an order from a United States court is necessary under domestic law. By its own regulations, the United States Government has conceded that although an American warrant might be a “dead letter” in a foreign country, a warrant procedure in an American court plays a vital and indispensable role in circumscribing the discretion of agents of the Federal Government.
 
III
 
When our Government conducts a law enforcement search against a foreign national outside of the United States and its territories, it must comply with the Fourth Amendment. Absent exigent circumstances or consent, it must obtain a *297 search warrant from a United States court. When we tell the world that we expect all people, wherever they may be, to abide by our laws, we cannot in the same breath tell the world that our law enforcement officers need not do the same. Because we cannot expect others to respect our laws until we respect our Constitution, I respectfully dissent.

[U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 110 S.Ct. 1056 (U.S.Cal.,1990)]