Expanding Executive Power

Two recent actions by the White House provide an interesting study in the expansion of executive power.


The first instance is a Federal judge’s decision that the legal reasoning behind the May 2011 drone strike that killed Anwar Al-Awlaki – an American citizen and member of Al-Qaeda – need not be released by the Justice Department. In what she called “a veritable Catch-22,” Judge Colleen McMahon noted that a combination of Constitutional contortions and executive precedent have rendered the Freedom of Information Act petition filed by The New York Times and the ACLU ineffectual. The judge skeptically quoted Attorney General Eric Holder’s assertion that assassinations like that of Al-Awlaki are befitting of “due process,” though not “judicial process.”

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