Obama Looking for Structures to Ensure He Abides by Rule of Law


Noah Shachtman does a good job of fact checking Obama’s claims about his drone program in a recent interview with Jessica Yellin.

But I’d like to push further on his comments about Obama’s claims to give Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan (to say nothing of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki) due process by pointing to the way he ends this bit:

Our most powerful tool over the long term to reduce the terrorist threat is to live up to our values and to be able to shape public opinion not just here but around the world that senseless violence is not a way to resolve political differences. And so it’s very important for the President and for the entire culture of our national security team to continually ask tough questions about, are we doing the right thing? Are we abiding by rule of law? Are we abiding by due process? And then set up structures and institutional checks so that you avoid any kind of slippery slope into a place where we’re not being true to who we are.

Having started by saying that drones are just a tool, he ends up by saying that we will vanquish terrorism by upholding our values–rule of law and due process.

And then the Constitution Professor President describes “set[ting] up structures and institutional checks” to make sure that we deliver rule of law and due process.

This, from the guy whose Administration refused to litigate a suit from Anwar al-Awlaki’s father to make sure it was upholding the standards Obama claimed in this interview in Awlaki’s case.

This, from the guy whose Administration has claimed state secrets to make sure no court can review the claims of people who have been rendered or tortured or illegally wiretapped.

This, from the guy who wouldn’t do the politically difficult things to have Khalid Sheikh Mohammed tried–and surely, convicted–before a civilian court in NYC.

He’s looking for structures and institutional checks to make sure we don’t go down that slippery slope where we forget rule of law. And yet his Administration has repeatedly avoided the one mandated by the Constitution: courts.

Which, according to his own logic, means he’s not using the tool that would best work to keep us safe from terrorism.

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz Hi there "civil litigation" guy? How ya doing?? Guess you just blew past yer supposed arbitration clause, didn't you? #OhWellsBygonesBaybee!
13mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @marciahofmann You think that's all they'll do. How could Chris Dodd pass up chance to make this into SOPA?
19mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Think I'm gonna frame this tweet from Turdblossom. https://t.co/Mh4F8tt5FP
23mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @normative: True, albeit accidentally… MT @BuzzFeedAndrew: Rep Duncan calls DiFi “as much a traitor” as Snowden over CIA report. http://…
24mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel OK, WH presser boys, was one of you GOING to ask a question about torture? Speak up!
25mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @jason_koebler: Remember, China stole a goddamn stealth fighter from us & no one cared. http://t.co/KXcKY8cv7C http://t.co/bf5KTojZ09
26mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel And now, after giving none of you boys a question, I'm gonna brag abt flying to Hawaii.
27mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel "KXL is Kanadian Obama" is mine tho no longer gives a shit is close RT @drgrist: No Longer Gives a Shit Obama is my favorite Obama.
31mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @zrahul2020 Oh, there weren't going to be Qs abt torture in any case.
33mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Already imagining the attack where Obama's refusal to take questions from men will result in a 2% greater disparity in college attendance.
33mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @jamescdownie: Male reporter shouts out: "Do you have any New Year's resolutions?" And they wonder why Obama won't call on them...
34mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Now he's just trolling the boys. Count Von Count counts 8 women reporters. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8!
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