A federal judge says contradictory laws permit Obama "to proclaim as perfectly lawful" actions that seem unconstitutional "on their face."
Permitted to run CNN for a day, I'd amuse myself by arranging for a Crossfire-style debate between English professors who disagree intensely about how best to characterize President Obama's national security policies. "They're Orwellian," one would insist. "They're actually better described as Kafkaesque," the other would counter. They'd go back and forth, citing his transgressions against basic norms of justice and comparing them to plot points from dystopian novels. Poor Wolf Blitzer. He'd be horrified by a segment that afforded so little deference to a sitting president.
And yet. Even federal judges presiding over real cases now find themselves drawing on dark fiction to adequately convey reality in the Obama era. Take U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon.
In her courtroom, The New York Times argued that the Obama Administration should be forced to release the legal justification it relies on when it engages in secret, extrajudicial killings. To be clear, the legal fight isn't about whether Obama can kill American citizens in secret without presenting any charges or evidence of guilt or conducting a trial. At issue is whether Americans are entitled to know what he regards as the legal justification for that power.