Gavel Grab

NY Times Urges Judicial Review for Targeted Assassination

It is necessary to follow the rule of law and seek judicial review before targeting a U.S. citizen for assassination, a New York Times editorial declares, citing the recent armed drone killing of Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

The Obama administration “set aside Mr. Awlaki’s rights to due process,” the editorial asserts.  It says a detailed legal memorandum prepared by administration officials was not shared with Congress, and no judge or judicial panel passed judgment on it.

While “Mr. Awlaki was not entitled to full protections,” the editorial says, he was an American and was entitled to some. It urges:

“Due process means more than a military risk analysis. It requires unambiguous and public guidelines for how the United States will follow federal and international law in approving targeted killings, particularly of Americans. And it means taking the decision beyond the executive echo chamber. We have argued that judicial review is required, perhaps a closed-door court similar to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, before anyone, especially a citizen, is placed on an assassination list.”

The editorial is headlined, “Justifying the Killing of an American.” To learn more about protecting civil liberties in troubled times, see the JAS issues page on the topic.

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