According to the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution, Americans are never to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The Constitution is not some aspirational statement of values, allowing exceptions when convenient, but rather, it is the law of the land. It is the basis of our Republic and our principal bulwark against tyranny.
Last week’s assassination of two American citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, is an outrage and a criminal act carried out by the President and his administration. If the law protecting us against government-sanctioned assassination can be voided when there is a “really bad American”, is there any meaning left to the rule of law in the
Many cheer this killing because they believe that in a time of war, due process is not necessary - not even for citizens, and especially not for those overseas. However, there has been no formal declaration of war and certainly not one against
Al-Awlaki's father tried desperately to get the administration to at least allow his son to have legal representation to challenge the “kill” order. He was denied. Rather than give him his day in court, the administration, behind closed doors, served as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner.The most worrisome aspect of this is that any new powers this administration accrues will serve as precedents for future administrations. Even those who completely trust this administration must understand that if this usurpation of power and denial of due process is allowed to stand, these powers will remain to be expanded on by the next administration and then the next. Will you trust them? History shows that once a population gives up its rights, they are not easily won back. Beware.