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WillyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 09:23 PM
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Obama's War On Terror: Civil Libertarians Decry Being 'Stabbed In The Back' By Awlaki Decision
Joshua Hersch - HuffPo
First Posted: 10/10/11 06:49 PM ET Updated: 10/10/11 09:48 PM ET


WASHINGTON -- Civil libertarians are expressing dismay over a new report that names two prominent one-time critics of the abuse of presidential power as the forces behind a controversial memo authorizing Obama to assassinate an American citizen. The memo, described Sunday in an article in The New York Times, was reportedly signed by David Barron and Marty Lederman, two law professors who frequently challenged President Bush's legal stances on his war powers before joining the Obama Office of Legal Counsel.

"It's always more painful for civil libertarians to be stabbed in the back by a friend," said Jonathan Turley, a scholar at George Washington University law school who has long been a fierce opponent of expansive interpretations of executive powers. "There's a real feeling of the Ides of March, that the Obama administration has enlisted civil libertarians to sort of do its dirty work."


But it was the attachment of Barron and Lederman's names in the story -- they were described as the memo's "principle" authors, with Barron having signed it -- that startled so many observers, particularly since it came on the heels of reports that a third prominent Bush critic, the State Department's legal adviser Harold Koh, had earlier defended Obama's decision to forego congressional approval before the Libya conflict.

"If there were two people you wouldnt have expected to underwrite expansive new powers for the president, they would have been Harold Koh, who built his career arguing against the Imperial Presidency, and Marty Lederman, who, right up until the time he entered the Obama administration, repeatedly made the case against the Bush-era expansion of executive power," said Gene Healy, of the libertarian Cato Institute. "Talk about 'growing in office.'"




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