1. There has to be an actual crime for there to be a punishment, and this paper authorizes execution without any crime.As for the AUMF, I have already discussed that thing, many, many, times.
2. If, as the letter suggests, the president’s authority to order executions without trial derives from the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by the Congress, that would constitute a so-called bill of attainder, which he explains is a declaration that a certain person or class of people (i.e. terrorists in this case) are prima facie guilty of a crime. But as he notes, the Constitution specifically outlaws bills of attainder, saying in Article 1, Section 9, “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed…”
3. The letter violates the separation of powers, according the president the powers of executive, legislature and judiciary.
4. The letter violates the Sixth Amendment in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which guarantees everyone the right to a “speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” Needless to say, an execution ordered by the president skips all of this.
Thursday, February 07, 2013
I was going to write a piece on the entire Drone Justification letter by the Obama administration but Juan Cole via Dave Lindorff has done it for me. The important bits: