I am too angry to write rationally about this at the moment, so I appended to my earlier post a quote from Ryan J. Reilly of TPM outlining what AG Holder said. I will amend this post when I calm down a bit.
OK. I’ll be as brief as I can. Obama, through AG Holder, is now asserting that our constitutional due process rights assured in the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments may be guaranteed in practice not by the Judicial branch, but by the Executive branch without any action by the Judicial branch in the form of a court ruling on an executive assassination order (I’m sorry; I won’t stop calling it what it is: “assassination”). I just read through Article II, Sections 2 (presidential powers) and 3 (presidential responsibilities)… admittedly I skimmed quickly… and nowhere in there did I see any authorization for a president to substitute his/her judgment for that of a court at law.
If it’s in there, I didn’t see it. But offhand, I don’t believe it’s there.
Our Founders were very determined to separate the powers of the three branches of our government, correctly understanding that if one branch, e.g. the Executive, undertook actions appropriate to the powers of another branch, e.g., the Judiciary, without some sort of check-and-balance, then we were two-thirds of the way to dictatorship.
And that’s where we stand today. The President has claimed that, and I am quoting Holder here, “[d]ue process and judicial process are not one and the same,” and that an Executive-only review of circumstances is sufficient “due process” to assassinate an American citizen, far from any actual battlefield.
And it’s not merely theoretical: Obama has ordered such an assassination, of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki; and Obama’s order was carried out: Awlaki and his young son were killed by a drone attack.
It starts out with a Democratic president, ordering the assassination of an American citizen who is undeniably hostile to America, but is nonetheless a citizen. How soon before it is a Republican president, say, Santorum, ordering the assassination of someone whom he views as “religiously incorrect”? How long after that before presidents from either party order assassinations of political adversaries? How far this will go depends completely on who happens to occupy the White House in the future, and we’ve already seen from Bush’s election theft in 2000 that that person is not always the one elected by the American people.
Dog help us all, because no president ever will.