“Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces. This is simply not true. ‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one in the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a speech at Northwestern University law school.
This debate all started when the U.S. government authorized the killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by drone strike in Yemen back in 2011. The target of the drone strike was a member of Al Qaeda, and because he was understood to be someone who posed “an imminent threat of violence to the United States.”
The memo known as “white paper” which outlines the killing of al-Awlaki explains the “lawfulness of killing, without a trial, an American citizen who executive branch officials decide is an operational leader of Al Qaeda or one of its allies.”
The Fifth Amendment states that you may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of the law. The Fourteenth Amendment has the Due Process Clause which says the same thing as the Fifth Amendment, but it is applied to the states. The Constitution guarantees every American citizen due process of the law, but Eric Holder and the Obama administration say that due process does not equate to a jury trial. As Stephen Colbert put it, “Due process is just a process that you do.”
This brings up further arguments. In the instance of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, there has been talk in the media of the police not needing to give him his Miranda rights. and provide him with a lawyer. Some argue that he is a terror suspect, and he therefore does not get the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent since he need him to talk to give law enforcement further information about
Should there be a difference between due process and judicial process? Does any situation really justify taking away the right of due process from American citizens?