Lurking inside Obama's secret drone law: another secret drone law

Remember the secret memo explaining the legal justification for assassinating Americans with drones that the ACLU forced the Obama administration to release? Turns out that that memo relies on another secret memo that the Obama administration is also relying on. Obama is a no-fooling Constitutional scholar; you'd think that he'd be wise to the idea that secret law is not law at all.

This kind of thing is all too common, but tremendously problematic. For folks actually trying to understand what the law actually is the fact that people have to play this bizarre game of 20 questions, seeking secret laws and interpretations, only to get breadcrumbs pointing to other secret interpretations of the law is just ridiculous. We've complained in the past about the dangers of a secret law, but just the fact that the American public needs to play this stupid game, and the DOJ appears to have broken up the secret interpretations of the law into different sections, making it that much harder to track it all down, raises serious questions about what sort of government we have, and how Americans can be expected to respect, let alone obey, the law when we can't even be told what it is.

Enough Secret Law: Newly Released DOJ Drone Killing Justification Memo... Points To Another Secret Drone Memo [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]

(Image: Law & Order, Paige, CC-BY)

Notable Replies

  1. Yo dog, I heard you like secret drone laws...

  2. LAW: the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.

    I understand the need a government has for secrecy, but it seems to me that by definition, laws can't be included under that umbrella, at least not for a law based society. It has to be public in order to be recognizable.

  3. Oh, that's easy. If the terrorists knew what the law was, then obviously they could find a way to kill American citizens while not doing anything illegal. Or, at least, while only breaking laws that have punishments that aren't quite as bad. And they could tie up the legal system by exploiting loopholes to prevent themselves from being punished!

    You know, just like how we can't try the people in Guantanamo in a regular courts because they might somehow be found innocent...

  4. Anybody else think these secret memos are turtles all the way down?

  5. Lets face it, rule of law is just a veneer that powerful use to justify their rule.

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