Does the U.S. Constitution apply to military personnel?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Military personnel are covered by the U.S. Constitution, but not in exactly the same way as civilians are. While military personnel are not excluded from the rights set forth in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution grants Congress the power to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.

As a practical matter, most civilian Constitutional rights are afforded to military personnel – although with some differences to fit the military situation. In some areas, such as right to counsel and rights (Miranda) warnings, military personnel have broader protections than those contained in the Constitution. In other areas such as search and seizure, they have reduced expectations of privacy and fewer protections.

Military appellate courts tend to interpret military law as being consistent with Constitutional protections so far as is possible.

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