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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cruuuuuuzzzz Mania!!

by Clifford F. Thies 

 No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ... 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution 

According to a memo floating around the Justice Department, the President may, as he decides, make somebody dead, even a U.S. citizen, provided that person is overseas. 

Part of the analysis is the extraordinary authorization to use force given to the President by the Congress that is unbounded as to geography or time. 

Indeed, the President uses this power almost routinely nowadays to kill bad guys in various places in the world. 
  
While referring to the use of force resolution of Congress, the memo also invokes Commander-in-Chief powers and intimates that there are no bounds at all on the power of the President to make people dead. The memo is spooky. 

Why, even the New York Times and the Washington Post became concerned. Well, that was back in 2012, before Hurricane Sandy, and Obama's surge to re-election. This week the U.S. Senate has an opportunity to become involved in the matter, given that the President has to get that body to confirm his nomination of a replacement of General Petraeus as Director of the CIA. On the one hand, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is engaging in an old-fashioned fillibuster. 

On the other hand, Senator Ted Cruz has put the matter to Attorney General Eric Holder. Six times Cruz directly asked the Attorney General would it be unconstitutional for the President to make dead a person at a cafe drinking coffee, posing no immediate threat, if there is substantial evidence that that person is a terrorist. Five times, Holder was evasive. For example, it would not be "appropriate." Appropriate is a management concern. The President in nominating someone to be Attorney General expresses tremendous confidence in his ability to decide what is and what isn't appropriate. But, whether something is appropriate doesn't matter if it's unconstitutional. On the sixth go around, Holder relented. "Let me be clear. 

Translate my 'appropriate' to 'no'. I thought I was saying 'no'. Alright? 'No'." At some point, the Supreme Court will order the indefinite detainees at Guantanamo to be released as violating habeas corpus, will overturn the Patriot Act as violating the 4th Amendment, and will strike down the extraordinary Congressional authorization of the use of force as unconstitutionally vague. Or else we will have no Constitution. 

Which way this country will go cannot be determined at this time. But, at least we can say the following: for now: If the President decides you should be made dead while you are sitting at a cafe drinking coffee, instead of ordering a drone strike on you, he will have you arrested, arraigned before a judge, and tried by a jury of your peers. 

 Editor's note - This website was pro-Ted Cruz, very, very early on. Long before being a Cruz-iac was cool.

3 comments:

M. Simon said...

Well enemy combatants or enemy in general i.e. not American Citizens can be held indefinitely without trial.

They are normally released when a peace treaty is signed. Now who exactly are we going to sign a peace treaty with?

In the old days what we are fighting "terrorism" would be referred to as "piracy".

You might want to check out the rules of a fight with Piracy.

You might find this of interest:

A bug in the drone wars.

M. Simon said...

Rules Of War - Piracy.

The US Constitution is also instructive.

M. Simon said...

Piracy and The US Constitution