While the judiciary embarrassingly failed as the third branch of our government and ducked its check-and-balance responsibility during the first suit brought by Awlaki's father, the legality of the claimed right to assassinate Americans without charge or trial is front and center in federal court yet again.
The government has admitted to assassinating an American citizen. Previously, that American's father brought suit to prevent the U.S. government from hunting down and killing his son simply because he was on an assassination list. The court punted and did not hear the merits of the case, citing the standard nonsense excuse that seems to accompany judges who don't want to do their constitutionally required duty- ie, lack of standing.
The father's son was assassinated by the U.S. government. Instead of being captured and tried in court for treason (as our Constitution mandates for Americans suspected of treason), he was simply terminated with extreme prejudice. While the government invaded Panama and lost American service members to capture and try Manuel Noriega for drug trafficking (a mission that was successful, and now the non-American Noriega sits in a prison cell), the government decided not to afford the same due process to an American citizen. Instead, one branch of government decided to act as judge, jury, and executioner.
Judge Rosemary M. Collyer finds this disturbing, as should every American citizen. She stated in response to the cliche and tired government "security" position that:
“Your argument is that the court has no role in this — none, none none... I find that a little disconcerting. The scope of your argument concerns me. It gobbles up all the air in the room. ... The most important part of the United States is that it is a nation of laws.”I hope Judge Collyer does the right thing and exercises the badly needed judicial check-and-balance against a clearly unconstitutional and incredibly un-American practice. The judge's comments make it clear that she knows the all too obvious right legal answer. Hopefully she doesn't use some manufactured legal technique, like a purported lack of standing, to avoid her own constitutional responsibility.