What if, when the president decided he wanted to kill people in foreign lands without declaring war on the government of those lands (and without indicting and trying the people he wanted to kill), he went to lawyers in the Department of Justice and asked them to find a way to make the killings legal? What if he also asked those lawyers to find a way to make his killings of Americans in foreign lands legal?
What if the Constitution declares that if the government wants to take life, liberty, or property from anyone, it must seek what it wants by means of the courts and not by means of drones? What if, in order to advise the president that he can legally kill, the lawyer assigned to the task sent numerous legal memoranda to the president? What if that lawyer persuaded the president that he could legally and constitutionally kill whom he wishes? What if that lawyer who advised the president that he could kill with drones — even Americans if he wished — has been nominated to become a federal judge? What if the bench to which the president nominated this lawyer is the second highest court in the land?
What if the Constitution requires Senate confirmation of all of the president’s judicial nominees? What if Sen. Rand Paul and others asked this nominee for public copies of his legal memoranda in which he found a way for the president to legally kill Americans?What if this nominee and the president refused to make these memoranda available for public scrutiny until a court ordered them to do so?
What if this lawyer claims that he can be faithful to the Constitution and to presidential extra-judicial killing at the same time? What if such a dual loyalty is metaphysically impossible because the Constitution mandates the rule of law, and presidential killing mandates the rule of men? What if Paul and others have talked their hearts out in an effort to stop this lawyer from achieving a lifetime judgeship, but the political bosses of the Senate made sure he became a federal judge? What if this judge judged you?
What if these Alice-in-Wonderland tales are really happening? What if you are reading this on a computer and the NSA is looking right at you? What if the government regularly breaks its own laws? What if the government thinks that wrong is right? What if the government doesn’t know the difference?
What do we do about it?
COPYRIGHT 2014 ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO
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