A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to block the US from carrying out the targeted killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who is reportedly on a 'kill list' of terrorism suspects.
SITE Intelligence Group/AP
A federal judge in Washington ruled on Tuesday that he lacks the authority to hear a lawsuit that sought to block the US government from carrying out the targeted killing of an American citizen hiding in Yemen who is suspected of involvement in terror operations.
US District Judge John Bates dismissed a lawsuit filed by the father of Anwar al-Awlaki, a dual US-Yemen citizen, who is reportedly on a US “kill list” of terrorism suspects. His ruling clears the way for the Obama administration to conduct the targeted killing – without judicial oversight.
The suit asked the judge to issue an injunction prohibiting the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Department from intentionally killing Mr. Awlaki unless the government could first demonstrate that he posed an imminent threat to life or safety, and that no nonlethal means were available to meet the threat.
Judge Bates said the suit must be dismissed under the political question doctrine, which requires judges to step aside in issues that are best resolved by the elected, political branches of government.
He also ruled that Awlaki’s father, Nasser, lacked the necessary legal standing to litigate the case on his son’s behalf in a US court.
The litigation has attracted attention because it poses stark questions about the limits of constitutional protections of American citizens in national security cases.
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