So, you think the U.S. Constitution guarantees due process of law. Well, what if it does? It’s an old document. Who cares what the voters’ original intent was? Not the Attorney General of the United States, certainly.
He gave a prepared speech at Northwestern University Law School recently. In his speech, he made it clear that the federal government has decided to adopt an updated view of the fifth and fourteenth amendments, the Due Process clause.
Holder explained the government’s rationale for killing Americans as a pre-emptive strike against terrorism. He said:
Some have argued that the President is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or associated forces. This is simply not accurate. “Due process” and “judicial process” are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.
What, Constitutionally speaking, separates membership in Al-Qaeda from membership in any other group that has been identified by some President’s Administration as a terrorist organization? Judicially, Holder said, there is no Constitutional protection. Then what is the protection? This: the pre-assassination estimated effects of any post-assassination public protest.
In short, it all depends on what the assassination bureau thinks it can get away with.
David Galland has assessed this speech.
Simply put, what the administration is now claiming as standard operating policy is that it can formulate certain procedures on an ad-hoc basis and call it “due process.” Provided their functionaries follow that process, the government is free to do virtually anything, in this instance, kill citizens.
Note also that Holder doesn’t make a distinction between targeting US citizens here versus abroad. This is a blanket statement.
When I initially read Holder’s remarks, I was sure there would be a massive outpouring of popular indignation, outrage even. And I confess to hoping that maybe, just maybe, this would be the final straw to get the citizenry off their couches to put an end to this long step down the path of fascism.
But there was barely a peep. No cries for Holder’s resignation, or for Obama’s impeachment, either of which would have been entirely appropriate in a nation where the citizenry hadn’t already been cowed.
It was also telling that even though Holder’s declaration of the administration’s coup against the constitution was delivered at a law school, the audience didn’t rise to their feet in shock but rather waited politely for him to conclude his remarks before rewarding him the obligatory applause. Given that these were students of the law and so should know better, I can only conclude that even though they saw something – in this case the ungloved hand of fascism – they decided to say nothing.
Holder got away with it. The government will get away with it.
The government is tightening the noose. Holder’s speech was a trial balloon to see how far the government can go before it encounters political resistance. It can go a lot further. It is just getting started. This is the judicial legacy of 9-11.
Most Americans at the top of the power pyramid have lost the will to resist. The professors of law say nothing. The rest of the elite will say nothing.
The man in the street neither knows nor cares.