Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/6/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Obama memo eliminates due process for some Americans.

This week's Constitutional infringement by the Obama administration comes in the form of a memo that permits him to use lethal force against American citizens overseas without charges, warrants, trials, or any other due process. Although the memo is intended to refer to terrorist targets, the precedent it sets could later include any American, anywhere.

The terrorists aren't using their Constitutional rights anyway...

The terrorists aren't using their Constitutional rights anyway...

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/6/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Obama, memo, due process, imminence, drone, strikes, justice department


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - There few Americans who would defend the right of a terrorist to due process, but the memo sets a precedent that could later be expanded to include anyone. That's what's giving Constitutional scholars so much pause.

The memo says that Americans who have affiliated with known terrorist organizations, are planning an imminent attacks on Americans, and who cannot be arrested primarily because doing so would not be feasible, are subject to lethal justice from the air in the form of drone strikes. Such strikes can be conducted at the word of the president or even an unelected justice department official.

This is a violation of the fundamental rights secured by the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution. One of the memories of the founding fathers was that of King Charles I, who was executed for treason in 1649 following a bloody civil war in England. Charles made use of a secret court, called the "star chamber" for the room in which it was seated. Charles arrested personal enemies and placed them on secret trials where they were condemned to death, all without public knowledge.

30 years and a century later, the founding fathers added legal protections into the Bill of Rights to guard specifically against such persecutions. Among those rights are speedy public trials, the right to face your accuser, the counsel of an attorney, the right to be judged by a jury of your peers, and finally the burden of proof which is placed on the prosecution.

However, the Obama memo conveniently omits all of that. Obama or an official of his designation may simply make a determination based on scant evidence, or even none at all, and pull the trigger.

Admittedly, few people are going to shed tears for terrorists, particularly those embedded in the ranks of al Qaeda, but the worrisome problem is that the memo leaves open possibility of more strikes against more people, without any due process.

As difficult as it is to like, even those American al-Qaeda who have already been killed were technically entitled to more due process than they received.

Beyond that, there is the precedent this memo sets. For example, the president could label another organization as a terrorist group. Just what it takes to be labeled as such is unclear. Does the proposal mean that a group must be legally ruled a terrorist organization by Congress, or can the president simply declare a group of people to be terrorists?

The next question has to do with imminence, a chiefly military concept that deals with whether or not an enemy is about to attack. An enemy that is poised to strike is legally subject to preemptive attack. However, how can we know that an American who is drinking tea and praying with al Qaeda associates in the deserts of Yemen, is also planning an attack at that very moment?

What constitutes planning? Merely daydreaming about jihad against the Great Satan of America? Purchasing weapons? Forging travel documents to places where Americans are? The memo does not make clear what constitutes imminence.

Finally, the capture of the target must not be feasible, according to the criteria set forth by the memo. Again, how is feasible defined? Is feasible a matter of finances, international cooperation, logistics, or what? Arresting someone who lives down the street from the president can be labeled "infeasible" if the desire is to say as much.

Detractors who are alarmed by the memo are plenty, and not one of them is shedding tears for American terrorists such as Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan who were both killed under these criteria in drone strikes. However, the rights we deny these citizens because we find their affiliations repugnant, can later be denied to those whose offense against their country is less obvious.

What if one day Obama, or a future president decides that a group to which you belong is worthy of such justice? While that's a highly improbable scenario, such things can happen, if not today, certainly in decades. The world changes and groups fall into and out of favor. Today's activists could be considered tomorrow's terrorists. One need only recall that a few decades ago, Osama bin Laden was a close American ally.

The White House has a lot of explaining to do with regards to the memo and it must take steps to ensure appropriate safeguards are developed to protect the right of due process for all Americans, not matter how much we may fear and despise them.

Then again, Obama is a master when it comes to "interpreting" the Constitution.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Seventh terrorist suspect released from Guantánamo in two weeks; Republicans protest Watch

Image of Muhammad al-Zahrani, became the 13th prisoner released this year and the seventh in just two weeks.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Saudi Arabian man has been released from the terrorist holding facility GuantĂ¡namo Bay. He was the seventh such suspect in two weeks to have been transferred from the United States to another nation. The practice has created a great hue and cry among Republicans, ... continue reading


The Immigration Conflagration and the Dangers of a Benevolent Dictator

Image of

By Keith A. Fournier

There is no question that comprehensive immigration reform is needed. Most people acknowledge this as a fact. However, the truth is President Obama could have participated in such reform, and he knows it, by working with the 114th Congress which will soon be sworn ... continue reading


Running out the door, Republicans too busy with Thanksgiving to address laws Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With Thanksgiving turkeys dancing in their heads, many Republican lawmakers are running out the door in lieu of considering a plethora of new legislation. Republican members have discussed resolutions of disapproval and censure. One unnamed lawmaker was ... continue reading


The TOP 10 list of countries where slavery is most prevalent. DO YOU BENEFIT FROM SLAVERY? You might be shocked! Watch

Image of Poor Haitians are commonly enslaved by wealthier family members.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last week it was announced that some 36 million people around the world live in slavery, a number that is higher than at any time in history. While most Americans feel that slavery is a distant problem, which has little or no effect on their lives, the sad fact is that ... continue reading


Raking in the dough: Obamacare 'architect' worth millions Watch

Image of Jonathan Gruber has a lucrative connection with the Department of Health and Human Services.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Jonathan Gruber's good fortune would make lots of college students change their majors to economics. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with his firm Gruber Microsimulation Model has raked in millions. Gruber's chief function is estimating the ... continue reading


Why have Republicans betrayed us to the most anti-life president in history? Mark Levin has an idea Watch

Image of Mark Levin is a Constitutional scholar and commentator.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two weeks ago, the American people spoke and sent a message to Obama that we did not approve of his style of leadership. Americans gave control of both the House and Senate to Republicans with a clear mandate to put a stop to the rule of the most anti-life, ... continue reading


Reaping what is sown: No immigration reform hurt Democrats in midterms, former president Clinton says Watch

Image of Speaking in an interview with POLITICO's Mike Allen, Clinton was celebrating the 10-year anniversary weekend of the opening of his presidential library in Little Rock.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A lack of action may have cost President Obama and the Democratic Party big time, former President Bill Clinton says. The Republican victory at midterms earlier this month may have been the result of a lack of action on immigration reform. Clinton says that ... continue reading


'Mook Mafia' said to be heading Hillary Clinton's run for president Watch

Image of Mook is a word used to describe an underling or person with limited intelligence who does as he was told by higher-ups.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As coined in the 1974 Martin Scorsese film, "Mean Streets," "mook" is the term used by Italian Americans used to denote a "loser." In later years, mook became known as a word used to describe an underling or person with limited intelligence who did as he was ... continue reading


United Nations takes United States to task for legalizing marijuana Watch

Image of The United Nations is taking some states in the United States for legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana use. The U.N. anti-narcotics chief says that these measures are not in concert with international drug conventions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United Nations is taking some states in the United States for legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana use. The U.N. anti-narcotics chief says that these measures are not in concert with international drug conventions.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Federal health care officials scramble to bring health care Web site up to snuff Watch

Image of Throttling would detect overloads sooner and be more efficient than the one long online line federal officials devised last winter. This led to the dreaded

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the Obama administration is confident that HealthCare.gov is far more adept this time around in time for open enrollment, there are signs that officials are drawing up contingency plans for any eventuality. These plans will hopefully readily address the ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 14:1-3, 4-5
1 Next in my vision I saw Mount Zion, and standing on ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:1-4
1 Looking up, he saw rich people putting their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 24th, 2014 Image

St. Andrew Dung Lac
November 24: Through the missionary efforts of various religious families ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter