The Obama Administration currently asserts it has the right to kill any American they deem a threat or terrorist without judicial review. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the ALCU currently are challenging this notion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. This lawsuit stems from the killing of Nasser Al-Aulaqi’s son (who was an U.S. citizen) who was targeted and killed by the United States Government. It is interesting to note that according to CCR Staff Attorney Pardiss Kabriaei “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 hopes the will court rule the U.S. Government can only kill a U.S. citizen if there is a proof of an imminent threat to life.
“If the Constitution means anything, it surely means that the president does not have unreviewable authority to summarily execute any American whom he concludes is an enemy of the state,” said Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, who presented arguments in the case. “It’s the government’s responsibility to protect the nation from terrorist attacks, but the courts have a crucial role to play in ensuring that counterterrorism policies are consistent with the Constitution.”
Title: Obama Administration Claims Unchecked Authority to Kill Americans Outside Combat Zones
Publication: CommonDreams.org, November 8th, 2010
Author: ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights
Faculty Evaluator: Cynthia Boaz, Sonoma State University
Student Researcher: Jason Corbett, Sonoma State University
For more information on the case, including fact sheets and legal papers, visit: www.aclu.org/targetedkillings and www.ccrjustice.org/targetedkillings