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How will Obama Justify Executing Americans Without Trial?

Good news comes this morning for Americans who believe that the President of the United States should not be held above the law.

A federal appeals court has ruled that the Obama Administration must release secret memos that describe the legal justification for Barack Obama’s order to have an American citizen killed because of mere suspicion that the American was involved in a crime.

Barack Obama has asserted that not only does he have the power to kill, without trial, Americans whom he decides are likely to have been involved in criminal activity, but that he also has the power to withhold the legal reasoning  by which he claims this power.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States severely restricts the power of the government to inflict criminal punishment. It reads: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The American Barack Obama ordered to be killed was not suspected of any crime arising in the “land or naval forces, or in the Militia”. Given that, what legal justification can Barack Obama possibly give for this execution without trial?

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