by John Glaser
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) thinks we’d be asking too much of Obama if we demanded the President publicly acknowledge when he targets a US citizen for assassination. If President Obama wants to drop a bomb on an American with a drone in total secrecy, he should be able to do so.
In an interview with the
In direct response to Pelosi’s statements during an interview with The Washington Examiner, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said, “Anytime the government willfully executes a citizen, regardless of the circumstances, it is a very serious issue. As the body that oversees executive branch actions, at the very least, Congress should have a full accounting – even if it must sometimes be in a classified setting – of the specific considerations that went into the decision.”It is a "very serious issue" indeed. Does it matter whether it happened on U.S. soil? If on U.S. soil, does it matter whether the victim was a U.S. citizen? Are such assignations based on the theory that the executed person is guilty of treason, with that determination to be reserved to the President or his designee(s)? Article III of the Constitution provides,
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted. (Emphasis added.)That part of Article III, along with the various rules for criminal trials as set forth in the Bill or Rights and as expanded upon in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, should be considered in determining the legitimacy of Executive executions. Instead of opining that there should be a "full accounting" after the fact, why not demand that the practice cease pending judicial review and that the Congress grant the Supreme Court (called back from its Summer recess if necessary) one-time-only original and exclusive jurisdiction to entertain a request for an advisory opinion on that (and only that) matter? Alternatively, and probably second best, how about demanding that the practice cease pending review by both houses of the Congress?