WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s targeted drone strikes against American citizens were constitutional in part because the president said so, Department of Justice lawyers argued in a court filing this week.
“The Attorney General’s statement last month that the use of remotely piloted aircraft and the targeting of Anwar Al-Aulaqi were subject to ‘exceptionally rigorous interagency legal review’ and determined to be lawful — along with the President’s statement that those actions were legal — only support the conclusion that those actions were lawful, and certainly were not clearly established to be unconstitutional in 2011,” the government said in a Wednesday court filing signed by Paul E. Werner, a trial lawyer in the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
The government was responding to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the estates of three American citizens killed in drone strikes. The lawsuit, Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta, alleges that the government’s killing of Al-Aulaqi and his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi, and Samir Khan were unconstitutional because they were not given due process.
H/T Weasel Zippers