Rand Paul opposes the appointment of a known defender of citizen assassinations to the federal judgeship, particularly since the Obama administration is hiding the man’s defenses of those assassinations from the Senate:
The Bill of Rights is clear. The Fifth Amendment provides that no one can be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Sixth Amendment provides that “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury,” as well as the right to be informed of all charges and have access to legal counsel. These are fundamental rights that cannot be waived with a presidential pen.
In battle, combatants engaged in war against America get no due process and may lawfully be killed. But citizens not in a battlefield, however despicable, are guaranteed a trial by our Constitution. No one argues that Americans who commit treason shouldn’t be punished. The maximum penalty for treason is death. But the Constitution specifies the process necessary to convict.
Anwar al-Awlaki was an American citizen who was subject to a kill order from Mr. Obama, and was killed in 2011 in Yemen by a missile fired from a drone. I don’t doubt that Mr. Awlaki committed treason and deserved the most severe punishment. Under our Constitution, he should have been tried — in absentia, if necessary — and allowed a legal defense. If he had been convicted and sentenced to death, then the execution of that sentence, whether by drone or by injection, would not have been an issue.
But this new legal standard does not apply merely to a despicable human being who wanted to harm the United States. The Obama administration has established a legal justification that applies to every American citizen, whether in Yemen, Germany or Canada.
Defending the rights of all American citizens to a trial by jury is a core value of our Constitution. Those who would make exceptions for killing accused American citizens without trial should give thought to the times in our history when either prejudice or fear allowed us to forget due process.
One would think that Jews in America, more than anyone, would understand the intrinsic danger of permitting a government to legally kill its own citizens at will. I find it astonishing that most of them in the media appear to be more interested in defending the Obama administration than ensuring that the U.S. government is prevented from hunting down and killing Americans without trial.