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
emptywheel RT @SkinnerPm: From @TheSoufanGroup piece this morning on offline #ISIS recruiting https://t.co/DPR0DCurgX https://t.co/vmMr2YcuqW
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emptywheel RT @just_security: A New UK-US Data Sharing Agreement: A Tremendous Opportunity, If Done Right | new from @jendaskal https://t.co/tAPe4xHNeh
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emptywheel @lpackard I don't pretend Miller is speaking up for principle. It's a way to win Gov for her @DanaHoule
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emptywheel @DanaHoule Miller has an incentive to make something happen. Upton might be made to. @lpackard
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emptywheel @DanaHoule Problem with that is GOP is playing for corrosion controls to start taking effect to avoid laying pipe.
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emptywheel @DanaHoule It may well help long term. But I don't see how it does short term.
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emptywheel @DanaHoule Just trying to figure out quickest most likely way to get Flint burying new pipe. Don't see how Hillary's visit helps short term
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emptywheel @DanaHoule No. I'm saying GOP might do something but are less likely bc now doing so would be a win for Dem POTUS candidate.
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emptywheel @DanaHoule Sure. & I think there's a chance Hillary visit will make it less likely Flint gets $$ to fix pipes in part bc it'd be Keynesian
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JimWhiteGNV Happy Year of the Monkeypuppybaby, everyone!
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emptywheel @DanaHoule Besides, this is not (just) Snyder's governing ideology. It is DeVos'. That's going to take more to give up.
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emptywheel @DanaHoule Acknowledging and funding are unrelated, IMO, and may be out of GOP's hands anyway.
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