by Gary Farber
First, we don't kill all the lawyers.
Let's continue the examination of the lawfulness of the killings of American citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan I began in my post, Off With Their Heads!
Consider the justifications presented for these killings:
#1: Did they commit "treason"? Possibly so!
Sticking point: the U.S. Constitution says very clearly:
Section 3 - Treason
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
It's almost as if the drafters of the Constitution considered this!
Our Constitution specifically defines "treason" and the only way someone can be convicted of it. As You Know, Bob (everyone), the U.S. Constitution is superior to U.S. laws, which can't violate the Constitution. So al-Awlaki and Khan can't have been put to death because they committed "treason."
The President has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution.
#2: It was justified to kill them because of their propaganda and speech.
Unfortunately for this argument, the Constitution also rules it out with the little-known, obscure, First Amendment freedom of speech.
Let's move on to more serious arguments.
But first let's jump to the White House presenting its official response as press secretary Jay Carney explains, and is questioned by Jake Tapper (!) of ABC News:
TAPPER: You said that al-Awlaki was “demonstrably and provably involved” in operations. Do you plan on demonstrating or proving –