‘The Power Claimed by Kings and Tyrants’


Can the president and other military and intelligence officers ignore the Constitution and execute Americans without formal charges or a trial? According to a Justice Department white paper leaked February 4, yes. As long as an “informed, high-level official,” thinks you are a threat and capture is infeasible, he can kill you as if you were an enemy combatant.

The implications should shock every American. Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano says the Justice Department’s premises are “bereft of any appreciation for the values of the Declaration of Independence and the supremacy of the Constitution, and its rationale could be used to justify any breaking of any law by any ‘informed, high-level official of the U.S. government’” (emphasis added).

In addition, the paper’s language is so vague, convoluted and contradictory that high-level officials can make it mean whatever they want it to mean. The president and “informed, high-level officials” are playing God with Predator drones and Hellfire missiles.

“This is the power claimed by kings and tyrants,” writes Napolitano. “It is the power we have arguably fought countless wars to prevent …. Now … it is here.” This is exactly the kind of government overreach that President Obama campaigned on ending. Why isn’t the media all over this? Why is Congress basically shrugging its shoulders?

What is to limit President Obama’s execution of his kill list? His own judgment—and that’s about it. This is not the first time a leader has contravened the law to make a massive power grab, then asked the people to simply trust him.

Six thousand years of human history show that once men gain this kind of power, it never ends well. As John Adams warned in 1792, “There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public.”

The Constitution is designed to prevent any president from gaining this kind of power. That’s why you have to break the Constitution to do it. It is designed to protect Americans’ freedom from “high-level officials.” The framers had a deep understanding of human nature. They knew it had to be restrained by a supreme law of the land.

Now the Obama administration has pushed aside America’s supreme law in the name of making us safer, and replaced it with his personal judgment.

America is allowing its leadership to “free” itself from law. History proves that the result, ironically, will be anarchy or tyranny.