DOJ Tells Judges to Go Fuck Themselves

I wonder how Article III is going to feel about this claim, in DOJ’s white paper on targeted killing?

Finally, the Department notes that under the circumstances described in this paper, there exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional considerations. It is well established that “[m]atters intimately related to foreign policy and national security are rarely proper subjects for judicial intervention,” Haig v. Agee, 453 US 280, 292 (1981), because such matters “frequently turn on standards that defy the judicial application,” or “involve the exercise of a discretion demonstrably committed to the executive or legislature,” Baker v. Carr, 369 US 186, 211 (1962). Were a court to intervene here, it might be required inappropriately to issue an ex ante commend to the President and officials responsible for operations with respect to their specific tactical judgment to mount a potential lethal operation against a senior operational leader of al-Qa’ida or its associated forces. And judicial enforcement of such orders would require the Court to supervise inherently predictive judgments by the President and his national security advisors as to when and how to use force against a member of an enemy force against which Congress has authorized the use of force.

Using this logic, the government can just define all of us imminent threats, and be able to execute us without any review by a court.

And remember — while the document pretends that Congress has been involved here, it refuses (still!) to show Congress the real authorization it used. So it is basically saying Fuck You to courts in the white paper, and Fuck you to Congress by releasing it.

I can see now why Ron Wyden included this in his letter to Obama today:

In your speech at the National Archives in May 2009, you stated that “Whenever we cannot release certain information to the public for valid national security reasons, I will insist that there is oversight of my actions — by Congress or by the courts.” We applaud this principled commitment to the Constitutional system of checks and balances, and hope that you will help us obtain the documents that we need to conduct the oversight that you have called for. The executive branch’s cooperation on this matter will help avoid an unnecessary confrontation that could affect the Senate’s consideration of nominees for national security positions.

Obama once believed — or purported to believe — in courts and Congress. Apparently not anymore.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

2 replies
  1. ess emm says:

    Nine posts! Not bad for a Monday. Much thanks for all your great work, we’re lucky to have you, Jim and bmaz.

  2. orionATL says:

    echo ess emm!

    burnin’ hot with outrage i’d guess. i sure am.

    this kind of doj wordplay and circular reasoning is why i wrote here recently that no federal judge who valued THE CONSTITUTION as much as she valued the law

    should ever give credence or quarter to any pleading tbe u.s. dep’t of justice (and of sophistry and lies).

    all assertions of any kind by the doj should be greeted with – show your reasoning, show your evidence in fulll, show the consequences of your plea to the court.

    and, i would add, only half-faceciously, show why you should not be held in contempt of the court – and of the american people.

Comments are closed.