March 1, 2012
The U.S. has been fighting the “war on terrorism” for more than a decade. Thousands of Americans have died, both in the 9/11 attacks and Washington’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Constitution also is under assault, as successive presidents have asserted extraordinary and unreviewable power in the name of combating terrorism.
Even if the president can get away with acting unilaterally, he should not do so. The administration could create a formal process with internal checks and balances. Afsheen John Radsan and Richard Murphy, of the William Mitchell School of Law and Texas Tech University School of Law, respectively, argued that “the government must take reasonable steps based on individualized facts to ensure accuracy before depriving any person of life, liberty, or property,” but suggested that this requirement “might be satisfied by independent, intra-executive review.” In fact, Jeh Johnson contended: “Within the executive branch the views and opinions of the lawyers on the president’s national security team are debated and heavily scrutinized.”