Obama Administration Claims Unchecked Authority to Kill Americans Outside Combat Zones

ACLU/CCRA joint statement by the ACLU and CCR, published recently on CommonDreams.org:

The Obama administration today argued before a federal court that it should have unreviewable authority to kill Americans the executive branch has unilaterally determined to pose a threat. Government lawyers made that claim in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) charging that the administration’s asserted targeted killing authority violates the Constitution and international law. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard arguments from both sides today.

“Not only does the administration claim to have sweeping power to target and kill U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, but it makes the extraordinary claim that the court has no role in reviewing that power or the legal standards that apply,” said CCR Staff Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei, who presented arguments in the case. “The Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected the government’s claim to an unchecked system of global detention, and the district court should similarly reject the administration’s claim here to an unchecked system of global targeted killing.”

The ACLU and CCR were retained by Nasser Al-Aulaqi to bring a lawsuit in connection with the government’s decision to authorize the targeted killing of his son, U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi. The lawsuit asks the court to rule that, outside the context of armed conflict, the government can carry out the targeted killing of an American citizen only as a last resort to address an imminent threat to life or physical safety. The lawsuit also asks the court to order the government to disclose the legal standard it uses to place U.S. citizens on government kill lists.

Read more here.

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  • Hadrian999

    the government has been doing this for a long time, now they are just sure enough of our subjugation that they don’t care if people know

    • Butter Knife

      Alternatively, every government has been doing this since the dawn of civilization, and we have just now reached a point in social development where this not only shocks us, but we have the means to seriously debate the merit of such acts and, at least in theory, begin to curb them.

      A little historical context goes a LONG way when considering the present state of the world.

      • Hadrian999

        yeah silly me , it isn’t hypocritical at all to pretend to be the democratic shining light of justice then
        murder people because you don’t like them

        • http://rockstarmartyr.net JoeBot

          I think you are misunderstanding the comment. Perhaps this Butter Knife is sharper than you give him/her credit for.

          BK isn’t arguing in defense of executive assassinations, just bringing up the fact that rulers have killed their enemies–whether of their own nation or not–whenever possible. That the Obama Administration has ramped up this practice is certainly hypocritical, but it is hardly new. As BK says, we live in a rare time in which collective pressure could put an end to open assassination of American citizens.

          Not that I’m holding my breath.

      • reubenavery

        So, fuck the constitution because everybody else acted this way?

  • Hadrian999

    the government has been doing this for a long time, now they are just sure enough of our subjugation that they don’t care if people know

  • Butter Knife

    Alternatively, every government has been doing this since the dawn of civilization, and we have just now reached a point in social development where this not only shocks us, but we have the means to seriously debate the merit of such acts and, at least in theory, begin to curb them.

    A little historical context goes a LONG way when considering the present state of the world.

  • Hadrian999

    yeah silly me , it isn’t hypocritical at all to pretend to be the democratic shining light of justice then
    murder people because you don’t like them

  • Anonymous

    So, fuck the constitution because everybody else acted this way?

  • http://cybercasualty.com The JoeBot

    I think you are misunderstanding the comment. Perhaps this Butter Knife is sharper than you give him/her credit for.

    BK isn’t arguing in defense of executive assassinations, just bringing up the fact that while rulers have killed their enemies–whether of their own nation or not–whenever possible. That the Obama Administration has ramped up this practice is certainly hypocritical, but it is hardly new. As BK says, we live in a rare time in which collective pressure could put an end to open assassination of American citizens.

    Not that I’m holding my breath or anything.

  • emperorreagan

    I say that the US government doesn’t get to call anyone a threat to US national security until they start doing basic things…like passing basic nuclear arms treaties.

    Until they get their acts together to do basic things like that, the political elites in this country are the greatest threats to US security and should probably consider hanging themselves to protect us all.

  • emperorreagan

    I say that the US government doesn’t get to call anyone a threat to US national security until they start doing basic things…like passing basic nuclear arms treaties.

    Until they get their acts together to do basic things like that, the political elites in this country are the greatest threats to US security and should probably consider hanging themselves to protect us all.

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