The interesting case of noted al-Qaeda leader, Anwar al-Awlai has raised constitutional questions that will require years to answer. His father, together with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a challenge to the decision of the Justice Department to authorize the killing of an American citizen. Judge John Bates considered the entire case “extraordinary and unique.” He asked the Justice Department why they went to court for a warrant if they were eavesdropping on an American citizen overseas, but did not believe they needed a warrant to kill an American overseas.
The ACLU lawyer, Jamel Jaffer raised the question to Judge Bates: “if the fourth and fifth Amendments mean anything at all, surely they mean there are limits to the power of the government to use force against its own citizens.” Naturally, the Justice Department raised the issue of “security and secrecy” in order to explain why they would not go to court to seek a warrant.
Judge Bates is wondering if al-Awlai actually wants the case to be heard since he has made clear his desire is to kill Americans, not to respect its instit