The very thought that the executive branch of government (in my case the President of the U.S.A.) could order the death of a citizen without the due process of law should send shivers down our backs.
In the American scene this question became moot in the U.S. Senate confirmation of Mr. Brennan to be the director of the C.I.A.
The Justice Department had equivocated on this issue, therefore Senator Rand Paul (R) (a libertarian) filibustered the issue until he could get a clear answer from the American Attorney General.
(See below for the story as reported on the internet).
I am not usually in favour of the Libertarian views. I think that they are as romantic and un-realistic as those of we wild-eyed Liberals.
(Liberals and Libertarians have an unproven faith in the perfectibility of human nature).
But in this case I think that Rand Paul was right, and his filibuster was necessary. It teased out a definitive answer from Atty. General Eric Holder.
For there is no doubt that the Executive Branch, (regardless of party), has a dangerous tendency to accrue non-constitutional power and authority. Rand Paul’s filibuster was an important challenge to possible ‘imperial powers” by the Presidency.
As a liberal I am in the strange position of lauding a right wing conservative on this issue, even as I wonder why the Democratic Party Senators were so wimpy.
The News Story (From the web)
The Brennan vote was 63-34 and came just hours after Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, used an old-style filibuster of the nomination to extract an answer from the administration on the drone question.
Brennan won some GOP support. Thirteen Republicans voted with 49 Democrats and one independent to give Brennan, who has been Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, the top job at the nation's spy agency. He replaces Michael Morell, the CIA's deputy director who has been acting director since David Petraeus resigned in November after acknowledging an affair with his biographer.
The confirmation vote came moments after Democrats prevailed in a vote ending the filibuster, 81-16.
In a series of fast-moving events, by Senate standards, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a one-paragraph letter to Paul, who had held the floor for nearly 13 hours on Wednesday and into Thursday.
"It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: `Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?" Holder wrote Paul.
"The answer to that question is no."
That cleared the way.
"We worked very hard on a constitutional question to get an answer from the president," Paul said after voting against Brennan. "It may have been a little harder than we wish it had been, but in the end I think it was a good healthy debate for the country to finally get an answer that the Fifth Amendment applies to all Americans."