Civil Rights Groups Challenge Obama’s Assassination List

Civil liberties groups have long objected that President Barack Obama has continued and even expanded on many of George Bush’s abuses in the area of national security, including blocking any investigation into the torture program. Now, civil liberties groups are targeting Obama’s continued use of an assassination list and his assertion that he can simply kill a U.S. citizen without any criminal charge or trial.

The lawsuit focuses on the reported kill order targeting U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, who is reportedly hiding in Yemen. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights have filed this interesting action, naming the President of the United States, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the secretary of the Department of Defense.

This could make for a very interesting case if the groups can establish standing, which is likely to be challenged by Attorney General Eric Holder. As usual, Congress has done little to explore the constitutionality of a president who claims the unilateral power to kill U.S. citizens upon sight.

If a President can unilaterally kill a U.S. citizens on his own authority, our court system (and indeed our constitutional rights) become entirely discretionary. The position of the Administration contains no substantial limitations on such authority other than its own promise to make such decisions with care.

Here is the complaint: Al-Aulaqi v. Obama Complaint

Source: Washington Post

48 thoughts on “Civil Rights Groups Challenge Obama’s Assassination List”

  1. (This comment is a little late, but this blog post still has a decent index on Google, so it is worth my time.)

    The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States due process clause states: “No person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law… ” That means unless the individual in question can lawfully be considered an enemy combatant pursuant to the laws of war, which in my opinion as a soldier, Anwar al-Aulaqi is NOT (He verbally advocates terrorism, but does not actually engage U.S. targets), then the person MUST be arrested, charged and tried for any alleged crimes. PERIOD.

    Do not get me wrong; I hate the man and everything he stands for, but the rule of law must prevail. In the Armed Forces, our Oath allows us only to obey LAWFUL orders and allegiance to the Constitution comes before allegiance to authority. We have a sworn duty to refuse to obey illegal or unconstitutional orders.

    That brings me to this issue: Barack Hussein Obama, by enacting this policy of extrajudicial killings on U.S. citizens who are not legally enemy combatants is violating his Oath of Office, therefore he is guilty of perjury and committing murder. This issue alone should have him impeached and prosecuted. However, our citizenry at large tends to be uncritical in their thinking, apathetic, and/or cowardly. If this was not true, then there would be hundreds of millions of my countrymen working to get this totalitarian president out of office and the political pressure would FORCE congress to act.

  2. I think thagt this situation is readily distinguishable from a case or ordinary domestic murder. Mr. al-Awlaki is in a territory in the wilds of Yemen from any unwanted contact with Yemeni or American police or military. He has repeatedly issues radio and Internet broadcasts, calling for the murder of American citizens. (Of course, someone else could hypothetically be impersonating him, b ut if that were true, wouldn’t he long since have spoken up, denying his association with these statements?)

    You seem to say that because we cannot apprehend him and try him in an American court of law, we can do nothing to stop him from these terrible actions are are causing extensive bloodshed. If there was some way of arresting him and bringing him to justice, that would be another matter. Since there isn’t, it sewems to me that the American government is entitled to act in self-defense, based on the best informattion available.

    One other thing. I am usually liberal in my leanings, a strong supporter of freedom of speech and of liberal interpretations of such decision as MIRANDA. By taking such an exteme position, you are making all liberals look like fools, and undermining our credibility on worthwhile issues.

    Thank you.


    From the article on whistleblowers:

    As Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (GAP) told Truthout about the Bush approach compared to now:

    “It’s the same or worse: the politics of personal destruction, vengefulness, is still there. Obama [i.e., the administration] has indicted four people for leaking, more than the last three administrations [George Bush’s and Clinton’s terms] combined. ‘No Drama’ Obama is driven to distraction by leaks, he seethes and is tormented by it.” As she pointed out in a blog post recently: “The reality is, Obama – not Bush – has criminalized whistleblowing.”

    At the same time, the administration ostensibly supports reforms that aim to tighten the near toothless safeguards for whistleblowers – including those involved in the intelligence community, who have virtually no protection for exposing wrongdoing – that are now stalled in the Senate.

    end of excerpt

    And to repeat it: “…including those involved in the intelligence community, who have virtually no protection for exposing wrongdoing.”

    Pretty much anything goes these days… I’ve always believed that telling the truth and exposure of “wrongdoing” were good things. What’s happened? What did I miss along the way?

  4. Daniel R.

    My interpretation was that he chose to fight the health care battle first (and he won that, no matter how much you might have liked a different program better), and that he planned to wade through the mud storm necessary to restore habeas and other basic constitutional protections later. I take it the majority view is that I’m hopelessly naive on this?


    Got that right! You and I are the only two babes in the woods, here. Everyone else has information they have yet to share with us, though I’ve repeatedly asked Jill to give me reliable sources.

    I like the term mud storm, though I think it will be more of a tornado – and not mud but something much more odiferous. Why Mr. Obama didn’t jump right in on day one is still a mystery.

  5. Nasser Al-Aulaqi the father of Anwar al-Aulaqi would better serve his son to convince him (Anwar al-Aulaqi) to turn his self in, if he is not a traitor and killer of innocent people.

    If the proof the US states they have about Anwar al-Aulaqi involvment in criminal acts against the State weights against him then surely Anwar al-Aulaqi, could plea bargain for a dumb dumb bulet to the head in exchange for the terroris intell he more than likely knows.

    Because US intell is obviously taken from the late show and surely US intell people would welcome news from the early show.

  6. HenMan
    1, September 3, 2010 at 1:29 am
    Swarthmore mom: I hope you are right about the 30 year olds having a different outlook than my burned out generation-we were full of hope in our twenties and watched the “American Dream” fizzle out year by year with stagnant wages, destroyed labor unions, frozen pensions, and then no pensions at all for the generation behind us. I get angry every time I hear the obsolete term “layoffs”. …

    I don’t think we have seen the last of the draft. The famous Military-Industrial Complex needs it, and what they need, they usually get. They have the money and they have the Congress.


    Truer words were never spoken!

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