"This is a monumental pile of crap that should embarrass every Democrat who ever said an unkind word about John Yoo."Charles Pierce/ Politics Blog / Esquire.com / March 5, 2012
Pierce (author of Idiot America) was reacting to a speech by Attorney General Eric Holder, justifying the authority of the president to assassinate American citizens without charges, trial, or judicial oversight. The ACLU and other civil libertarians were equally disturbed by the Obama Administration's rationale for extrajudicial capital punishment. Holder told an audience at the Northwestern University School of Law:
"The American people can be -- and deserve to be -- assured that actions taken in their defense are consistent with their values and their laws...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."
Glenn Greenwald in Salon.com interprets the administrations view of "due process" as:
"the President and his underlings are your accuser, your judge, your jury and your executioner all wrapped up in one, acting in total secrecy and without your even knowing that he's accused you and sentenced you to death, and you have no opportunity even to know about, let alone confront and address, his accusations."
Does the Constitution stll matter? by snooperreport.com
In case you're wondering what you are now missing (according to the interpretation of Obama's Justice Department), here is the text of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
I suspect the authors of the Bill of Rights thought their wording and intentions were clear. It's hard to imagine they would have taken kindly to Eric Holder's slippery rationalizations.