Judge Dismisses Father's Suit to Get Son off CIA Kill List

But he's skeptical whether US can order citizen's assassination
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 7, 2010 12:54 PM CST
A file photo, taken from video, of Anwar al-Awlaki.   (AP Photo/SITE Intelligence Group)

(Newser) – A judge today threw out a lawsuit aimed at preventing the US from targeting anti-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki for death, but questioned whether a president or his aides can order a US citizen assassinated for terrorist activity. US District Judge John Bates said that he does not have the authority to review the president's military decisions and that al-Awlaki's father does not have the legal right to sue to stop the US from killing his son. But Bates also said the "unique and extraordinary case" raised vital considerations of national security and for military and foreign affairs.

"The serious issues regarding the merits of the alleged authorization of the targeted killing of a US citizen overseas must await another day or another nonjudicial forum," wrote Bates, who seemed skeptical about whether the White House can order the assassination of a citizen without "any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization."

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