Judge Says Under Law Executive Branch Can Commit Acts That Sure Do Seem Unconstitutional Without Having to Explain Why They Allegedly Aren't

by
Abby Zimet

Even as she turned down requests from the ACLU and New York Times to release information on American targeted killings, frustrated federal judge Colleen McMahon acknowledged such disclosure might help justify "the scope of the ill-defined yet vast and seemingly ever-growing exercise in which we have been engaged for well over a decade, at great cost in lives, treasure, and (at least in the minds of some) personal liberty." More on Mother Jones' Quote of the Day.

"Under the law, I can only conclude that the Government... cannot be compelled by this court of law to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the Constitution and laws of the United States. The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me, but I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret."

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