Can the President Kill You?

And if he can kill an American in Yemen, can he do so in Peoria?


Can the president kill an American simply because the person is dangerous and his arrest would be impractical? Can the president be judge, jury and executioner of an American in a foreign country because he believes that would keep America safe? Can Congress authorize the president to do this?

Earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to justify presidential killing in a speech at Northwestern University law school. In it, he recognized the requirement of the Fifth Amendment for due process. He argued that the president may substitute the traditionally understood due process—a public jury trial—with the president's own novel version of it; that would be a secret deliberation about killing. Without mentioning the name of the American the president recently ordered killed, Holder suggested that the president's careful consideration of the case of New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki constituted a substituted form of due process.

Holder argued that the act of reviewing al-Awlaki's alleged crimes, what he was doing in Yemen and the imminent danger he posed provided al-Awlaki with a substituted form of due process. He did not mention how this substitution applied to al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son and a family friend, who were also executed by CIA drones. And he did not address the utter absence of any support in the Constitution or Supreme Court case law for his novel theory.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that the government may not take the life, liberty or property of any person without due process. Due process has numerous components, too numerous to address here, but the essence of it is "substantive fairness" and a "settled fair procedure." Under due process, when the government wants your life, liberty or property, the government must show that it is entitled to what it seeks by articulating the law it says you have violated and then proving its case in public to a neutral jury. And you may enjoy all the constitutional protections to defend yourself. Without the requirement of due process, nothing would prevent the government from taking anything it coveted or killing anyone—American or foreign—it hated or feared.

The killing of al-Awlaki and the others was without any due process whatsoever, and that should terrify all Americans. The federal government has not claimed the lawful power to kill Americans without due process since the Civil War; even then, the power to kill was claimed only in actual combat. Al-Awlaki and his son were killed while they were driving in a car in the desert. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that the Constitution applies in war and in peace. Even the Nazi soldiers and sailors who were arrested in Amagansett, N.Y., and in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., during World War II were entitled to a trial.

The legal authority in which Holder claimed to find support was the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was enacted by Congress in the days following 9/11. That statute permits the president to use force to repel those who planned and plotted 9/11 and who continue to plan and plot the use of terror tactics to assault the United States. Holder argued in his speech that arresting al-Awlaki—who has never been indicted or otherwise charged with a crime but who is believed to have encouraged terrorist attacks in the U.S.—would have been impractical, that killing him was the only option available to prevent him from committing more harm, and that Congress must have contemplated that when it enacted the AUMF.

Even if Holder is correct—that Congress contemplated presidential killing of Americans without due process when it enacted the AUMF—such a delegation of power is not Congress' to give. Congress is governed by the same Constitution that restrains the president. It can no more authorize the president to avoid due process than it can authorize him to extend his term in office beyond four years.

Instead of presenting evidence of al-Awlaki's alleged crimes to a grand jury and seeking an indictment and an arrest and a trial, the president presented the evidence to a small group of unnamed advisers, and then he secretly decided that al-Awlaki was such an imminent threat to America 10,000 miles away that he had to be killed. This is logic more worthy of Joseph Stalin than Thomas Jefferson. It effectively says that the president is above the Constitution and the rule of law, and that he can reject his oath to uphold both.

If the president can kill an American in Yemen, can he do so in Peoria? Even the British king, from whose tyrannical grasp the American colonists seceded, did not claim such powers. And we fought a Revolution against him.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written six books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is "It Is Dangerous To Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom."

NEXT: Reminder: Mitt Romney Probably Won More Delegates Yesterday

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  1. Ass ass i nation

  2. If you are travelling abroad, you better hope that El Supremo isn’t ‘carefully considering’ you.

    1. You know who else “carefully considered” taking certain actions…

      1. Like a solution of some sort? I think I know who you mean.

        1. yep – Whyte Injun

          1. There’s nothing he’s carefully considered in his entire life. Except for maybe the fastest route to obtain a twinkie.

            1. A product of agriCULTURE?!? BLASPHEMY!!!

  3. He argued that the president may substitute the traditionally understood due process — a public jury trial?with the president’s own novel version of it; that would be a secret deliberation about killing.

    And here I was, thinking that deliberating and considering taking a life before doing so made it First Degree Murder!

    1. That is soooo 1787…

      1. … more like 1215.

    2. Only when “regular people” do it. The president, on the other hand, is the toppest of TOP MEN. And he thinks really hard before ordering the killings, so that makes it all a-OK. Now repeat after me: Obama is good, Obama is great, we surrender our wills of this date.

      1. I’d bet Nixon is spinning in his grave right now. He became president 40 years too early…

        1. Nixon wouldn’t have been allowed to get away with this shit. You need a lapdog media who are willing to overlook “little things” like ordering the executions of citizens. Bush wouldn’t have been able to get away with it either, and neither will Romneybot or whoever the next president with an R after their name is.

  4. OT:

    Who thinks that as his campaign continues to sputter, Obama won’t drop Biden as VP, and bring in Hillary?

    Hillary has been testing the waters on domestic Women’s Issues, with a nasty little speech comparing those opposed to the birth control insurance mandate to the Islamonutters. SecState’s traditionally keep their greasy mitts off of domestic politics, but allofasudden Hillary is establishing a profile.


    1. The Dems I know have been telling me that is a virtual certainty since last fall. Biden is toast.

    2. Sputter? What planet do you fuckers live on?

      Obama is a 3-2 favorite on Intrade and leads by large margins in fundraising and in the polls (Real Clear Politics)

      1. This planet you crazy little fuck

        Nor was the supposed spike in Obama’s job rating so high. In the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls, it never got better than 49 percent approve, 47 percent disapprove.

        Now the ABC/WaPo poll has it at 46-50 and the CBS/NYT poll at 41-47. Rasmussen Reports tracking has it at 47-52….

        Or by the fact that 50 percent in the ABC/WaPo poll strongly disapproved of his handling of the economy

        And innitrade is nothing but a collection of conventional wisdom. It is in short a lagging indicator.

      2. And chew on this fact you little weirdo.

        But in 1983, the year before Ronald Reagan’s re-election, the gross domestic product rose 8.9 percent not just for one quarter but over the whole year. There were two months when job growth was 729,000 and 660,000.

        8% growth in one year. Obama could be President for a century and never produce growth like that. Everything you believe in Shrike is utterly false and headed to the dustbin of history. Hopefully you and your ilk will not take the rest of us with you.


      3. Hate to agree with Shrike J. Plankton but the field of losers the Republicans are fielding/backing probably guarantees Black Kennedy another 4 years in public housing.

      4. Obama has had two major developments in his favor:

        A heavily-publicized jobs report, and a nice fight with the social-cons that he successfully framed as being about women’s rights.

        Pretty much his dream week. His plan is to motivate his base (by fighting with social cons) and hope the economy doesn’t drive off too many independents.

        And he lost ground across the board on polls. Unfavorables up, head-to-heads against both leading Repub candidates trending Repub.

        If that isn’t a sputtering campaign, what would be.

        1. The polls say otherwise RC.

          Should health insurance plans for all employees have to cover the full cost of birth control for female employees or should employers be able to opt out for moral or religious reasons?” women favored opting out by a 46-44 margin. The margin increased to a decisive 53-38 for “religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university.”

          That’s among women. Unbeknownst to those who read only the Times’ main story, the poll asked the same question to men. They were not split. Men favored opting out by a 20 point margin (57 vs. 37), except when a “religiously affiliated employer” was involved, in which case the margin increased to 25 points. Combining men and women, a substantial majority (51-40) favors allowing an opt-out?increasing to 57-36 where religiously-affiliated institutions are involved.

        2. These are not close results. It’s hard to read this poll and not conclude that, contrary to some accounts, Obama wasn’t such a genius to pick a fight over mandated contraception coverage?because he appears to be losing the public debate on the question.


        3. Exactly, the Fluke kerfuffle was a PR stunt intended to keep the base warmed up for the big show later.

          From the WH perspective, it could hardly have gone better.

          And it cost them. That was a dry run of their campaign strategy, and they lost ground.

    3. Who thinks that as his campaign continues to sputter, Obama won’t drop Biden as VP, and bring in Hillary?

      Considering doing so would just about guarantee his re-election bid, I see it happening. Also, Biden is completely ineffective as a running-mate (he can’t be put into the spotlight without fucking up).

  5. Man, imagine the shitstorm if Bush had done this…

  6. So our soldiers need to read the terrorists their rights before shooting.

    1. Remember: it’s pronounced “Suck-y“.

      1. Suck-y Suck-y; 5 Dawrrer? Me rove you rong time!

        1. You’re dead.

    2. Read rights?

      Are you fucking daft?

    3. did you even read the article ass clown? go home troll

  7. Can the president kill…Can the president be judge, jury and executioner….

    Well, he can but whether he may not is what I don’t comprehend; how can this course be reversed?

    1. You want to reverse it ? stop giving the state ever more powers.

    2. How can this course be reversed? Our country needs to return to the peaceful, liberty-minded values of the White Tigress Tradition, something that heretics like John are actively trying to suppress.

      1. WHITE Tigress

        Really? RACIST!

      2. Where do you meet girls like this???

    3. how can this be reversed? well the impeachment of king obama, followed by a trial for treason and first degree murder would be a good start.

    4. How about ENFORCING the Constitution? To do that we would need an INDEPENDENT judiciary and executive law enforcement that didn’t kow tow to the PTB … So, it aint gonna happen.

      1. Actually, the Senate handles impeachments.


    “BANG!!! You’re dead! Hah! Just kidding! But don’t piss me off….”

    1. “I’m going to kill you, and you, and you, aaaaannndd you. Please understand if I missed anyone. It’s been a big day, I’m a little tired.”

      1. nice modified use of Enter the Dragon there…

    2. “Remembah when I promised to kill you last? I lied.”

    3. Hail to the Chief or I’m gonna have to kill you!
      Hail to the Chief or I’m gonna see you dead!

  9. Wouldn’t Waco and Ruby Ridge have been easier on the state had that president been the constitutional scholar that Barack Obama is?

    1. Yeah. They were a waste of resources. Just send in a couple of apaches and wipe ’em out instead. (don’t think they had murder drones back then). Been much quicker to murder neutralize those women and children terrorists.

    2. I was thinking the same thing. Obama has bacially added an economic factor to due process. You get a fair trial… but only if it doesn’t cost too much to capture you. Otherwise you get a missile to the face.

      1. What you did there, I see it.

  10. Think about Al Awaki’s family. Now he was an asshole. But as they say, even Hitler had a g/f. Obama killed him. It was a flatout assasination. It didn’t happen in a combat zone. There was no attempt made to capture him.

    Now I could see where Al Awaki’s family would like to know why this was done. They probably don’t think he was a terrorist and would like some explanation why his own government killed him.

    And the answer they get is “fuck you that is why”.

    1. Whatever. You’re an embarrassment to Jade Dragons everywhere. Don;t deny it.

    2. Well they killed his son too in the strike, so that’s one fewer family member to be concerned about it.

    3. The boy was 16. In just two more years he would have been a possible terrorist too.

      We had to stop him before it was too late.

      1. I forgot about the son. That brings up a whole other question. Suppose I am am American citizen innocently visiting my family in Yemen. And Obama drone strikes the next door neighbor and kills me in the blast. I would imagine my family would like some explanation or perhaps compensation for my death. And all they are going to get is “fuck you that is why”.

        1. eggs… omelettes…

        2. yes that is exactly what you would get. you would just be collateral damage and your family should consider your life a sacrifice to the greater good of Amerika.

        3. Let me be clear: the government of the United States, under my excellent all-knowinf perfect leadership, does not make mistakes. If I order someone killed you can rest assured that they were a dire threat to the United States and had to be taken out. By the way John, what’s this you say about having family in Yemen? And what’s your last name and home address? I’m compiling a uhm, mailing list so that I can personally respond to all of my critics myself. Thanks.

          1. You hear that sound? That’s the air mail that our illustrious president is sending you.

          2. my excellent all-knowinf perfect leadership, does not make mistakes.

            Can’t decide if it’s intentional…

          3. Barack, John’s dossier is in tomorrow’s daily intelligence brief. You don’t need to ask about it on a public forum.

    4. al awaki’s father tried repeatedly to petition the government for information concerning his son, and what he was being charged or suspected of. he was denied on ‘national security’ grounds by the obama administration and it was backed up by a US court. the whole thing is fucked up on so many levels.

      1. It really is. I honestly can’t see how anyone could defend it.

      2. That’s the thing for me: I don’t just take it for granted that the man was a “terrorist”. I realise that makes me unpatriotic and all that, but I do like to see real evidence.

    5. I thought Awlaki’s dad was filing suit against the government for the killing. Has that gone anywhere?

  11. Whatever. You’re an embarrassment to Jade Dragons everywhere. Don’t deny it.

  12. Does anyone think that these murderers will be punished regardless of what the courts may eventually rule? America has evolved into a country with all-powerful rulers. Its citizens are too cowardly to be anything other than helpless bystanders who watch the destruction of traditional rights.

    1. Does anyone think that these murderers will be punished regardless of what the courts may eventually rule?

      What do you think this is, a country with the rule of law or something? Hah!

  13. OK, as I understand it the proposition is that if a U.S. citizen has joined a group that is at war with the United States, AND capturing him is not a realistic option, then he can be treated like any other enemy combatant. I realise that this comes as a shock to all the Lefty Hobby Rebels who dream of pulling a Jane Fonda, but does it really represent a radical change in the rules of engagement?

    Is there room for abuse? Oh, hell, yes! This differs from the rest of the President’s authority as Commander in Chief how, exactly?

    I don’t like Obama. I detest Holder. I think that the pair of them should be tarred and feathered and run out of Washington on a rail. But in this particular instance, I’m not at all sure I understand where all the outrage is coming from.

    1. The fact the determination of all these ‘facts’ is secret and unreviewable doesn’t bother you just a smidge?

      Star Chamber justice returns on remote controlled wings.

      1. It does bother me, a little. But I am unusually skeptical of Government , and it doesn’t bother me all that much. As the author Michael Bowen has observed; thrillers about the government killing people covertly depend on the assumption of an agency stupid enough to believe that a dead body is less of an embarrassment than a live whistleblower. The facts are going to come out, and at that point the government’s justification had better be good or hell will break loose. this character seems to have been a turncoat, a traitor, and a terrorist and look at the catfits being thrown over him.

        More to the point, I’m pretty sure that these rules of engagement have been in place since Woodrow Wilson. It isn’t new with Obama, much though I might like to blame him.

        1. It’s not “him”, it’s about rights and due process. It’s about precedent and escalation. First we’re served up the Patriot Act, which allows the government to label you a terrorist by loose associations. The NDAA passes giving the President the authority to order the military to imprison anyone, citizen or otherwise, indefinately without formal charges or right to representation. And now the President has unilaterally decreed that he can ammend the Constitution to justify summary executions of U.S. citizens who have been identified as a threat/terrorist.

          And you see no problem?

          1. *amend

    2. My problem with it is three fold.

      1. He claims to be able to do it worldwide not just in combat zones. If B52s has accidentily whacked Hanoi Jane, such are the fortunes of war. But Al Awacki was in Yemen. That is not a combat zone.

      2. No attempt was made to capture Al Awaki. We have a MLAT with Yemen. Their government is friendly. Yet, they knew where he was and made no attempt to have the Yemi’s capture him. It would be different if they had showed up to arrest him and then there had been a fire fight. But that is not what happened.

      3. The secrecy of it. We still have no idea what Al Awaki did other than be a loud mouthed asshole. If you are going to kill American citizens, you owe the country an explanation why.

      1. Addressing your points, and keeping in mind that I dislike Obama and would LIKE to beat him with this stick;

        1) Without falling completely for the “The War on Terrorism is everywhere” argument; I would say that the standard of “If there are enemy troops in a certain location, and they are continuing operations, then that location is a war zone.” has a sound basis.

        2) Is the government of Yemen “friendly” in a “they would certainly arrest somebody we asked them to” sense or a “we can pretty much count on them to not knife us in the back so long as we keep an eye on them” sense? I’m not being a wisenheimer here, I really haven’t kept track.

        1. Yemen has definitely arrested people that we’ve asked them too, and stopped releasing people that we didn’t want released, like this journalist close to Al-Awaki.

          Not getting into the question of whether or not he should be imprisoned or released, it’s pretty clear that we do have some actual leverage over Yemen.

      2. 3) I thought that Al Awaki had publicly allied himself with a recognised terrorist org.. If that is the case he is entitled to exactly the same courtesy we would have extended to a Japanese-American who had gone to join Imperial Japan in WWII – not that any I know of did.

        1. Don’t try to reason with John. Its pointless.

          1. If Team Blue does it, it is always right. If Team Red does it, it is always wrong.

            John and the rest of you libertarian christfags can’t grasp the nuance of sophisticated arguments like the iron clad logic of mine above.

          2. What’s fucking priceless about this statement is if the fucking bushpig had done the same thing, you’d be agreeing with John.

      3. For an act that is so shrouded in secrecy, Obama sure talks about it a lot.

        1. That’s a key element of his administration’s unparalleled transparency: perform obviously illegal acts, then publicly deny that they were illegal.

          Seems to be working so far given that only one American out of ten probably knows who the hell Al-Awlaki was.

      4. Error: NDAA states that the entire world, including the homeland is now a combat zone in the “War on Terror”.

    3. The President has no authority to ignore the requirement for due process.

      1. In general I agree, but with terrorism things get real grey real fast. I still say that if you take up arms against the United States your status as a belligerent precedes you status as a citizen; citizenship comes into play if you surrender. Until then, if you get shot at (or shot), well that’s what you bargained for, isn’t it?

        1. In general I agree, but with terrorism things get real grey real fast.

          “Terrorism” is merely an adjective to describe anyone that harbors resentment against the regime.

          Either you’re involved in a crime or you are not.

          There isn’t a grey area.

          1. No, terrorism is the carrying out of what is technically called “Asymmetrical Warfare”. It involves military attacks on civilian targets as a method of extortion or leverage. Terrorists do not wear uniforms and are organised by cells rather than chain-of-command. This is why they are not protected by the Geneva Convention.

            Terrorism has not – yet – become a throw away label. It IS moving that direction, but my comment isn’t part of that. Should I take up arms against the United States government I would not expect to be arrested. I would expect to be killed in action or captured, in a military sense. I frankly don’t see how the best government imaginable could manage things another way.

            1. Once again, either you’re a criminal or you’re not. We have a criminal justice system already, and I’d be far more inclined to trust it that a latter-day Star Chamber.

        2. But with unchecked power things get real grey real fast.

          The law is the law – for a reason.

          You too quickly, and eagerly it seems, assume that all Presidents will wield this unconstitutional power justly, not that I think it should be described as such.

      2. “Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security.”

        Due process means whatever I say it means, and al-Awlaki got the due process of two White House lawyers and a decision to go-ahead with the murder by the President.

    4. “OK, as I understand it the proposition is that if a U.S. citizen has joined a group that is at war with the United States, AND capturing him is not a realistic option, then he can be treated like any other enemy combatant.”

      Except that even if Al Qaeda was a warring state, this guy would fall into the “civilian leadership” category. That isn’t combat, it’s assassination.

      1. Can an organisation that does not have uniforms for a military arm, hides in civilian populations, etc. be said to HAVE a civilian leadership? Or is part of the price they pay for the tactical advantages of their posture, that their entire organisation must necessarily be considered military?

        1. They have analogues that don’t seem too ambiguous to me. People who conduct direct acts of violence or are actively, knowingly, and significantly involved in the strategy or logistics of violence are “military”. People who write magazines and propaganda are “civilians”.

          1. The accusation against alwaki was that he was part of planning and logistics of the “underwear bomber” attack. That would make him military by your definition. But the judge’s point was to question the validity of killing him on the basis of accusation alone without due process.

        2. Can an organisation that does not have uniforms for a military arm, hides in civilian populations, etc. be said to HAVE a civilian leadership?

          Ever hear of Sinn Fein?

  14. You people are idiots – this has nothing to do with due process. New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki flew to Yemen by way of New York City, therefore this falls under the Commerce Clause and we already know there are no limits to that power. al-Awlaki probably didn’t eat his broccoli.

    1. Commerce Clause

      ****! Gets us every time!!

    2. You are absolutely correct.

    3. SMASH!!!!!!

    4. Legal genius, pure legal genius.

      The CC has only been used thusfar to justify the usurpation of power by the Congress rather than by the President.

      By extending the CC to the President, we can now have a real tyranny!

    5. fucking brilliant! kudos

  15. That’s broccoli goddammit.

  16. “Without mentioning the name of the American the president recently ordered killed, Holder suggested that the president’s careful consideration of the case of New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki constituted a substituted form of due process.”

    What it constituted is a categorical, inexcusable, traitorous violation of the supreme law of the republic you supposedly serve, Holder, you degenerate sack of shit. How the fuck did he get away with this putrid bullshit without getting challenged?

    “Holder argued that … [removed due to fucktarded character limits]”

    Ladies and gentleman, the Attorney General of the United States is aiding and abetting overt acts of treason committed by the Commander-in-Chief. Can we stoop any lower?

    1. Ladies and gentleman, the Attorney General of the United States is aiding and abetting overt acts of treason committed by the Commander-in-Chief. Can we stoop any lower?

      Let me be clear. I accept your challenge.

      1. and I stand ready to assist in any manner that you may require.

  17. I do not agree that the president has the legal authority to do this, but I disagree he should not have the ability.

    If something like this is determined that it needs to be done, if its done right, the public should never have any knowledge of it. And if the public gains knowledge of it, the president should take the blame, fall on his sword, and resign, but that is something that would never be expected from our un-honorable man-child in chief.

    1. “but I disagree he should not have the ability.”

      Excuse for disagreeing with you. I don’t want an elected official to have the power to be judge, jury, and executioner of American citizens. Even during “war time” in a war that has no end, while the field of war has been declared to be the entire world, when the military has the right to arrest American citizens on American soil (NDAA), and the government has effectively suspended habeus corpus.

      “If something like this is determined that it needs to be done”

      This is the same rational that assassins use to justify killing our presidents. Why would I want our presidents to be using the same justification for killing our citizens?

      Just another example of “it’s not wrong if the government is doing it.”

    2. “I do not agree that the president has the legal authority to do this,”

      There’s a word for deliberately killing people without legal authority. It’s on the tip of my tongue. Mur-something.

      Oh, but when the killing also involves explosives and is motivated by politics or ideology, there’s some other word that tends to get invoked. Some T word.

  18. “Even if Holder … Congress is governed by the same Constitution that restrains the president. It can no more authorize the president to avoid due process than it can authorize him to extend his term in office beyond four years.”

    Again, how is it that nobody confronted him on the podium? Anything and everything governmental entities do is absolutely and entirely subordinate to the Constitution of the United States. From which portion of the supreme charter does he and his despotic colleagues draw any such authority?

    This is the sort of crime, unmitigated treason, a more civilized society would punish by trying and executing him and everybody else involved, including the President. These troglodytes wield the might of a superpower with such negligence, it’s extraordinary they haven’t burned the Earth to a crisp yet.

    1. “how is it that nobody confronted him on the podium?”

      Well, would you want to become his next target?

  19. If going to trial would mean showing classified information to a jury (which obviously is not an option) then the only alternative is murder, ahem execution, er ahem assassination, er uh neutralization. Yeah that’s it.

    1. “Kinetic military action.” Still one of my all-time favorite bullshit lines.

  20. Can the President Kill You?

    Can he? Yes.
    May he? No.
    Will he? Roll your saving throw.

    1. Woot, I passed. But if I have to keep doing this every round I’m going to fail eventually.

    2. I have a +8 evade on my Boots of Fleetfootedness. And my Ring of Antioch allows me an extra roll of the D-20.

  21. I remember an interview on the News Hour with al-Awlaki shortly after 911 when he was considered one of the moderate clergy. Intelligence analyst believe that he was not radicalized until after the Iraq invasion, yet Holder pinned the blame for a 1999 terrorist attack on him. I have not seen any indication from the intelligence community that they got it wrong concerning his allegiances before being radicalized, nor a claim from the administration that the intelligence community erred. I doubt if the administration is even aware of the contradiction here but given they know the press will print their lies and accept it in whole, they just don’t give a shit to make an effort to get their story straight.

  22. All arguments here based on the notion that Obama and Holder committed “treason” are bogus.

    The Constitution defines treason as “only as levying War against [the United States], or adhering to their Enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

    Is Barack “levying War” against the US? No.

    Is he giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the US? Is he adhering to those enemies? No and No.

    Not even Napolitano, who breathlessly titles this article, “Can the President Kill You?”, argues that Obama and Holder are committing treason.

    Get a grip.

    1. “All arguments here based on the notion that Obama and Holder committed “treason” are bogus.”

      What about first degree murder? What about violating their oaths of office to obey the constitution?

      “Is Barack “levying War” against the US? No.”

      Depends on how you define the US. If you define the US as being composed of US citizens, then it’s a pretty solid argument that Obama/Holder is waging war (killing without due process) on American citizens, i.e. the US.

    2. 1) Read JEP’s summary.

      2) “Enemies” — foreign and domestic, but you didn’t think of that, did you?

    3. You’re right about the Constitution’s definition of treason.

      But Obama is sure giving the enemies of the US a strong argument that they’re fighting an aggressive tyrant, which does give those enemies aid in their propaganda efforts and the comfort of knowing that their enemy is evil.

    4. Seeking to undermine the US Constitution while not holding office = treason.

      Seeking to undermine the US Constitution while holding office = politics as usual.

      Both are treasonous. Only one can be prosecuted.

  23. Obama can’t commit treason, by definition.

    “L’etat, c’est moi”.

  24. “If the president can kill an American in Yemen, can he do so in Peoria?”


    Who’s gonna stop him?

  25. You’re next Napolitano! After careful consideration and review of my double-top-secret criteria, I have decided that you are an imminent threat.

  26. Can a president the order the death of an American? If he can order the deaths of a quarter million Americans without due process, why not one American? If he can have those orders carried out in places such as Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Atlanta, why not in Yemen?

    And what about all of those Americans imprisoned, many of whom died there, without due process?

    Did anyone suggest that president should be prosecuted for those crimes? Actually, yes.

  27. A person who is engaged in levying war against the United States is a combatant and subject to being killed; his citizenship is kind of beside the point. Read the opinions of Justice Robert Jackson following In re Quirin (German saboteurs in World War II, two of whom were American citizens, captured on U.S. soil, could be lawfully killed, admittedly after trial, but trial by military tribunal) and during the Nuremberg war crimes trials against the Nazis.

  28. …And no, just because al-Awlaki was killed in Yemen doesn’t mean the President can order the killing of an American in Peoria.

    But while we’re on the subject, why is that people get so terribly upset over the alleged “torture” that once was going on at Guatanamo, but aren’t upset over the killing of enemy combatants like al-Awlaki and bin Laden?

  29. It should also be pointed out that al-Awlaki, through his willing accomplices among American lawyers, once contested the exercise of U.S. court jurisdiction over him because he was making war against the U.S. out of Yemen, and they couldn’t get good service on him as long as he stayed there, and he couldn’t get a fair trial in the U.S. anyway.

    Also, what about Eric Holder’s famous remark about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that trial of him in a criminal court would be OK because we were going to execute him anyway? Justice Robert Jackson once said, “you can’t try a man in criminal court unless you’re willing to see him go free.” For violating that principle, Attorney General Holder should be fired if not tried, but what the hell…

    1. You know, they could have even done a trial in absentia… and I might be more “ok” with it. But they didn’t even make an attempt at due process, President Obama just unilatterally amended the constitution to fit his agenda.

  30. And then, of course, there’s the inescapable fact that radical Muslims will always find U.S. criminal justice unjust because they only recognize shar’ia as the proper justice system.

  31. In the same courtroom on the same side?

  32. Nice article, Judge, but I think Wagner, Esquerra, and Anthrax summed it up a long time ago:

  33. This “droning death” does not bode well for those hoping Obamacare will be found unconstiutional. Any administration that will execute a private citizen at a whim will find no trouble forcing us into individual mandates.

  34. Like the White House 0 scum that appointed him, Holder is a lawless fascist immoral degenerate hateful antitheist who wouldn’t know the Constitution if it bit him other than to seek to destroy it; that it’s survived as well as it has, even in view of the damage is a great testimony to its profound establishment by God-fearing Founders.

  35. In some countries there is a rule you can not case to the presidents, as we say the crime did by the president is not a assault.

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