U.S. Asks Court Not To Consider Targeted Killing Challenge

December 14, 2012 12:00 am

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NEW YORK ­– The U.S. government today filed its first response to a lawsuit challenging the targeted killing of the three U.S. citizens in Yemen last year, Anwar Al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman and Samir Khan. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought the case on behalf of the families of the Americans who died, issued the following statement about the government’s motion to dismiss:

“The essence of the government’s argument is that it has the authority to kill Americans not only in secret, but also without ever having to justify its actions under the Constitution in any courtroom. To claim, as the administration has today, that the courts have no role at all to play in assessing whether the government’s targeted killings of Americans are lawful – even after the fact – simply cannot be squared with the due process clause.

“The president himself has acknowledged that the targeted killing program must be subject to more meaningful checks, but there is little evidence of that recognition in the brief filed by the government today. If the court accepts the government’s position, it is not only the current president but every future president who will wield the power to kill any American he or she deems to present a threat to national security, without ever having to explain that action to a judge. The Constitution requires more.”

The government’s motion is available at: www.aclu.org/files/assets/tk_govt_motion_to_dismiss.pdf

More information on the case is available at: www.aclu.org/national-security/al-aulaqi-v-panetta

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