December 14, 2012, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued the following statement in response to U.S. officials’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the targeted killing of three U.S. citizens, including a 16-year-old boy, in Yemen last year:
The essence of the government’s argument is that it has the authority to kill Americans not only in secret, but also without ever having to justify its actions under the Constitution in any courtroom. To claim, as the administration has today, that the courts have no role at all to play in assessing whether the government's targeted killings of Americans are lawful—even after the fact—simply cannot be squared with the Due Process Clause.The president himself has acknowledged that the targeted killing program must be subject to more meaningful checks, but there is little evidence of that recognition in the brief filed by the government today. If the court accepts the government's position, it is not only the current president but every future president who will wield the power to kill any American he or she deems to present a threat to national security, without ever having to explain that action to a judge. The Constitution requires more.