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Anwar al-Awlaki and the Constitution

I have been called unrealistic and “a little nuts” for suggesting that Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, should have been charged and convicted before he was assassinated on September 30, 2011, in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen. It’s hardly an unrealistic position, considering that Awlaki has been on the CIA’s hit list since April 2010. That’s 17 months the Obama Administration had to assemble and present evidence to a court in order to charge and convict Awlaki.

In any case, I would like to hear from people. Which of these four points do you disagree with, and why?

1. The Administration, in the months leading up to Awlaki’s assassination, in light of the visible evidence against Awlaki, should have received a warrant or similar order from a federal court after submitting evidence against Awlaki.

2. This new precedent of it being legally acceptable for U.S. Presidents to assassinate U.S. citizens is a danger to the general American citizenry and the Constitution itself.

3. The Obama Administration, in light of the concerns provided by some of the American public, civil liberties organizations, and members of Congress, should submit its compiled evidence against Awlaki to a federal court/judge.

4. Although contrary to the individual protection of due process guaranteed under the Constitution, assassinations of U.S. citizens carried out by the President are, at the absolute minimum, to be illegal without evidence first being submitted and approved by a federal judge/court.

I am amazed how quickly people defend the assassination of an unconvicted human being, provided a President calls him a bad guy. It is truly sickening. Don’t get me wrong, Awlaki likely deserved his fate; I am not disputing this.

The majority of Americans are happy Awlaki’s dead and don’t think for a second that maybe there’s something wrong with how this justice was served. The death of Awlaki was no doubt a popular event appreciated by most Americans. However, the Constitution and the individual rights it protects is not subject to a popularity contest.

What do you say? Is this just an annoying and uneducated attempt to uphold the Constitution? Should the President have the legal authority to assassinate U.S. citizens when deemed necessary for “national security,” even without any legal charge or conviction?

“What would Constitutional Law professor Barack Obama think of this?”


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Bruce Fein - Constitutional Expert on Al-awlaki

Constitutional EXPERT BRUCE FEIN on Al-awaiki assination;

The United States' extra-judicial killing of United States citizen Anwar al-Awlaki off the battlefield and unengaged in active hostilities against the United States was as lawless as was Russian President Vladimir Putin's extra-judicial killing by poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London, which was condemned by the United States. The al-Awlaki precedent will lie around like a loaded weapon ready for use against any American anywhere in the world, including in the United States itself. Its frightening legal premise is that all the world's a constructive battlefield where military force and military law can be employed against any suspected enemy of the United States--citizen and alien alike--on the President's say so alone. The United States itself is now a candidate for military law and military force by presidential decree.

Even Adolph Eichmann, complicit in the Holocaust, received a due process trial before a civilian court in Jerusalem before execution by Israel.

In a nation that treasured both the rule of law and a common defense, al-Awlaki would have been indicted by a federal grand jury for material assistance to a foreign terrorist organization and subjected to an Eichmann-like kidnapping and trial held in a civilian court with all the trappings of due process. If al-Awlaki had sought to elude capture and his escape would have created a significant risk of physical harm to third parties, deadly force could have been employed against him by the FBI or the United States military under the United States Supreme Court's decision in Tennessee v. Garner. The Constitution is not a suicide pact. Its genius has been to accommodate due process, liberty, and safety in an equilibrium which is the hallmark of civilization. The al-Awlawki precedent, in contrast, crucifies the Constitution on a bogus national security cross.

Wow! Michael Savage gives massive props to Dr. Paul

about his stand on this Anwar al-Awlaki business. Somebody pinch me cause I think I'm dreaming.