Presidential hopeful Ron Paul has publically attacked the Obama administration’s abolishment of due process in a new editorial, calling the move a turning point in American history.
Responding to Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent justification for the extrajudicial killings of three American citizens on foreign soil, Republican Party candidate Ron Paul has penned a scathing op-ed condemning the White House for circumventing the US Constitution. Earlier this month Holder spoke at Chicago’s Northwestern Law School to discuss last year’s execution of alleged terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki and two other US-born clerics in Yemen, a decision he says the White House still defends despite criticism from citizens and lawmakers alike.
Although both US President Barack Obama and the CIA signed off on the airstrike that killed the American citizens, Washington has been relatively quiet on the matter until Holder spoke earlier this month.
After Attorney General Holder justified the assassination of Americans, a congressional inquiry revealed that Robert Mueller, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, wasn’t certain that the same laws could be applied to killing Americans on US soil. With the FBI and Oval Office both hiding behind vague verbiage to allow the assassination of their own citizens, Ron Paul is critiquing what he calls a complete disregard of the Constitution.
“It is particularly bizarre to hear the logic of the administration claiming the right to target its citizens according to some secret selection process, when we justified our attacks against Iraq and Libya because their leaders supposedly were targeting their own citizens,” writes Rep. Paul. “We also now plan a covert war against Syria for the same reason.”
The congressman adds in his explanation that he is all for justice brought on those that threaten America or its people, but that the US Department of Justice has — and should continue — to view these issues on a case-by-case basis. On the contrary, argues Paul, it seems as if the president puts himself above all other branches of the federal government, essentially eliminating the system of checks and balances constructed by America’s forefathers.
Holder, says Paul, “tells us that this is not a violation of the due process requirements of our Constitution because the President himself embodies ‘due process’ as he unilaterally determines who is to be targeted. As Holder said, ‘a careful and thorough executive branch review of the facts in a case amounts to “due process.”’ That means that the administration believes it is the President himself who is to be the judge, jury and executioner.”
“Our civilian court system, with the guarantee of real due process, judicial review, and a fair trial, is our strength, not a weakness,” writes Rep. Paul. “It is not an impediment to be sidestepped in the push for convictions or assassinations, but rather a process that guarantees that fundamental right to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
After the CIA ordered and executed a “targeted kill” on Awlaki and alleged al-Qaeda operative Samir Khan last year, Ron Paul responded the same day to condemn the assassinations. “Nobody knows if he ever killed anybody,” Paul said at time. “If the American people accept this blindly and casually…I think that’s sad.”
Now that the US has formally acknowledged that it stands by the killing months later, the congressman seems to be even more concerned with the turn America is taking, describing Holder’s explanation as something “history likely will record as a turning point.”