Via Kevin Underhill at Lowering the Bar, the Attorney General of the United States of America, Eric Holder, explains his understanding of the United States Constitution in a letter to Senator Rand Paul :
What Holder does not say is that the Constitution prohibits the president from killing American citizens on American soil without trial, conviction and all the constitutional niceties that exist to protect us from the government. Holder does explain, however:
This comes from the chief law enforcement officer of a Democratic administration who has sworn fealty to the Constitution. Since the government has the military, the drones and the weapons, Holder’s letter has just raised the stakes of survival in this nation.
Well, the word “no” does appear in that letter, but only as part of the phrases “no intention of doing so,” “we hope no President will,” and “no choice,” none of which are really what I was looking for there. In fact, they are the opposite of “no.”
Just to review, the Attorney General just said yes, the President does have “the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.”
We are allowed to continue to live so long as the President decides to let us. There may be no intention of killing Americans on American soil. The government may hope no President ever will. Hope springs eternal.
Until now, we operated under the belief that no President, no Attorney General, would ever be so bold, so arrogant, as to believe that they were empowered to kill their own people at will.
Until now. This changes things. By this letter, Eric Holder has disavowed the United States Constitution, and whatever moral and legal authority he may have possessed to hold his office. If President Obama does not disavow this letter by his appointed Attorney General, then he too has embraced the position that he is not bound by the Constitution of the United States.
Does President Obama believe, like Eric Holder, that he is above the Constitution?
Update: The president says “no.”
Glad to hear we got that cleared.
Carney said Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul Thursday [March7, 2013] clarifying the administration’s stance on the issue, which generated considerable controversy on Twitter Wednesday as Paul’s filibuster unfolded.
“Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil? …. The answer to that question is no,” Carney said, quoting Holder’s letter. (POLITICO has posted a copy of the very brief letter here.)