The New York Times reports:
A federal judge on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit that had sought to block the American government from trying to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a United States citizen and Muslim cleric in hiding overseas who is accused of helping to plan attacks by Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen.
The ruling, which clears the way for the Obama administration to continue to try to kill Mr. Awlaki, represents a victory in its efforts to shield from judicial review so-called targeted killings, one of its most striking counterterrorism policies.
In an 83-page opinion, Judge John D. Bates said Mr. Awlaki’s father, the plaintiff, had no standing to file the lawsuit on behalf of his son. He also said decisions about targeted killings in such circumstances were a “political question” for executive branch officials to make — not judges.
Judge Bates acknowledged that the case raised “stark, and perplexing, questions” — including whether the president could “order the assassination of a U.S. citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization.”
Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “If the court’s ruling is correct, the government has unreviewable authority to carry out the targeted killing of any American, anywhere, whom the president deems to be a threat to the nation.” He said: “It would be difficult to conceive of a proposition more inconsistent with the Constitution, or more dangerous to American liberty.”