Democrats Refuse Non-Binding Resolution Limiting Presidential Drones against Non-Combatants, Too

I noted earlier that Eric Holder suggested that a law prohibiting the use of drones against non-combatant Americans in the US would be unconstitutional.

Grassley: Do you believe Congress has the Constitutional authority to pass a law prohibiting the President’s authority to use drone aircraft to use lethal force against Americans on US soil and if not, why not?

Holder: I’m not sure that such a bill would be constitutional. It might run contrary to the Article II powers that the President has.

That’s interesting background for a move Rand Paul tried at roughly hour 8 of his filibuster.

He proposed a non-binding resolution saying precisely what Grassley had laid out 10 hour earlier, voicing the position of the Senate to be opposed to the “use of drones to target Americans on American soil who pose no imminent threat.”

As I understand it, the resolution was independent from the Brennan nomination (so it would not disrupt that, aside from a vote).

But — as just one of two Democrats to show up during this filibuster (Ron Wyden showed up in support during the 3:00 hour) — Dick Durbin showed up to oppose Paul’s unanimous consent to call for that resolution.

Durbin promised his subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee would hold a hearing on drones. Nevertheless, he objected to Paul’s resolution. He suggested more Constitutional review of this simple measure was needed.

A leader of the Democratic party (and the President’s fellow Chicagoan) opposed a non-binding resolution prohibiting the use of drones in the US against non-combatants out of Constitutional concerns.

I’ve got a lot of theories why that might be. A belief this is all about making trouble for another nomination. insistence that nothing limit potential Article II claims.

But I keep thinking about the fact that there’s a wrongful death suit out there, with state secrets as the fallback claim crumbling with the public discussion.

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9 Responses to Democrats Refuse Non-Binding Resolution Limiting Presidential Drones against Non-Combatants, Too

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @erinscafe The furry picture should lead all reports though.
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bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Ooof. Hope you have enough coffee and/or bourbon.
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bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Sure. But that is exactly why the patina of "legality" is so illusory in this discussion.
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bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog And that applies to torture, extrajudicial killing, banksters, illegal surveillance, and a whole host of issues.
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bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog The problem, as with so much is the political acts that beget such use/nonuse of discretion.
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bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Right. Failure to prosecute/hold accountable for Senate incursion is technically legal as prosecutorial discretion.
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bmaz RT @WSJ: At 79, Jerry Lee Lewis just released his 41st studio album. Listen here: http://t.co/rAJMtCwvpX http://t.co/IVJYFJ10VM
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bmaz RT @AntonioFrench: Bob McCulloch and Attorney General Holder should be launching investigations into who is leaking this info. Police? Atto…
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bmaz @mtracey @billmon1 As SSCI Chair, it was her duty to make the case, and she did, lack of vocal support from others, and non-SSCI depressing
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bmaz @billmon1 Even assuming you get past that as to DOD action, which is dubious, there is still issue of §1117+§1119 liability for civilians
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bmaz @billmon1 I agree as to seriousness. But disagree that characterization as combatants is legally correct without a battlefield+imminence.
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bmaz @shenebraskan @billmon1 Yeah, sorry about that. But even in a constant sea of depressing, certain things just stand out.
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