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On the Fifth Amendment Right to Due Process

David Axelrod in a suit & tie.

David Axelrod. Photo by Pete Souza / Wikimedia Commons.

From the Obama-administration sanctioned New York Times piece on Obama’s terrorist “kill list”, a hint at what the OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) opinion authorizing so-called ‘targeted assassinations’ contains:

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel prepared a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.

And then let us ask what these “internal deliberations” regarding who to ‘nominate’ for assassination look like.

This secret “nominations” process is an invention of the Obama administration, a grim debating society that vets the PowerPoint slides bearing the names, aliases and life stories of suspected members of Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen or its allies in Somalia’s Shabab militia.

The video conferences are run by the Pentagon, which oversees strikes in those countries, and participants do not hesitate to call out a challenge, pressing for the evidence behind accusations of ties to Al Qaeda.

“What’s a Qaeda facilitator?” asked one participant, illustrating the spirit of the exchanges. “If I open a gate and you drive through it, am I a facilitator?” Given the contentious discussions, it can take five or six sessions for a name to be approved, and names go off the list if a suspect no longer appears to pose an imminent threat, the official said.

Difficult questions. And if you are in the geographical vicinity of someone who opened a gate for a suspected facilitator, are you a facilitator?

And who oversees these august proceedings, making life-and-death decisions on which people standing around, opening gates, should be killed?

David Axelrod, the president’s closest political adviser, began showing up at the “Terror Tuesday” meetings, his unspeaking presence a visible reminder of what everyone understood: a successful attack would overwhelm the president’s other aspirations and achievements.

Yes, who is the ominous, awe-inspiring presence that everyone at these meetings must keep in mind as they make these decisions?

Not a statue of blind-folded Justice with her balance weighing rights and duties.

No. Ladies and Gentleman. … David Axelrod.

Your Constitutional Right to Due Process of Law in action.

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