ABA backs 4th Amendment application in US territories

The American Bar Association's House of Delegates on Monday passed a resolution supporting the full application of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure to people and goods traveling between the U.S. territories and other parts of the United States.

Neil Weare

The resolution was proposed by the Virgin Islands Bar Association.

“The ABA resolution recognizes the injustice of having a rule for the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures that protects citizens living in the 50 states and Puerto Rico but does not protect citizens living in other territories,” said Neil Weare, president and founder of Equally American, which advocates for equality and civil rights for the nearly 4 million residents of U.S. territories.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that protection from unreasonable search and seizure extends to the U.S. territories. However, a decision last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit deviated from the high court's landmark ruling.

The reconciliation of the inconsistent decisions has been left in limbo when

the Supreme Court denied a petition to review in January.