The Instigator
DanT
Con (against)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
CiRrK
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points

Spinkos tourney,Partial Semi-Finals: Assasination of US citizens is constitutional

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
CiRrK
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/5/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,612 times Debate No: 24588
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (37)
Votes (4)

 

DanT

Con

Resolution: The assasination of US citizens is constitutional

(n) assassination (murder of a public figure by surprise attack)

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Burden of proof
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This debate is about a grant of authority within the constitution; the BOP rests on pro to show where in the constituton the Government is granted the authority to assasinate it's citizens.

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Rules/set-up
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No semantics allowed.

No using the supreme court as an arguement; you may use it as a source.

One forfeit results in loss of the conduct point.

Two forfeits results in the loss of the debate.

1st round is for acceptance only.

Last round there will be no new arguments made.
CiRrK

Pro

I accept :)

Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
DanT

Con


According to the 5th amendment to the US constitution, and part of the bill of rights, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life… without due process of law”.[1]


Article 3 section 3 defines treason, and the manner in which one can be found guilty of and punished for treason. Article 3 section 3 states, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”[2]



Since a US citizen can’t be deprived of life without due process, and they cannot be held to answer for capital or infamous crimes without a presentment or indictment by a grant jury, they cannot be assassinated.


Furthermore, because a US citizen cannot be convicted of treason unless two witnesses testify against them, or he stands before an open court to confess his crimes, one cannot be marked for death for being a traitor, without due process.



If a US citizen was to be assassinated they would be denied their right to due process of law. If a US citizen was to be assassinated for waging war against the US, plotting against the US, or assisting the enemies of the US, than they would once again be denied their right to due process according to article 3 section 3 of the constitution. Unless one officially gives up their citizenship, they must be convicted of treason before they can be assassinated as a public enemy.



Nowhere in the constitution does it allow for the assassination of US citizens, but rather it makes clear that such acts are prohibited. One of the reasons for separation listed in the declaration of independence was “For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury”. [3]




"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet devised by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." ~ Thomas Jefferson




According to the 5th amendment to the US constitution, and part of the bill of rights, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life… without due process of law”.[1]


Article 3 section 3 defines treason, and the manner in which one can be found guilty of and punished for treason. Article 3 section 3 states, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”[2]



Since a US citizen can’t be deprived of life without due process, and they cannot be held to answer for capital or infamous crimes without a presentment or indictment by a grant jury, they cannot be assassinated.


Furthermore, because a US citizen cannot be convicted of treason unless two witnesses testify against them, or he stands before an open court to confess his crimes, one cannot be marked for death for being a traitor, without due process.



If a US citizen was to be assassinated they would be denied their right to due process of law. If a US citizen was to be assassinated for waging war against the US, plotting against the US, or assisting the enemies of the US, than they would once again be denied their right to due process according to article 3 section 3 of the constitution. Unless one officially gives up their citizenship, they must be convicted of treason before they can be assassinated as a public enemy.



Nowhere in the constitution does it allow for the assassination of US citizens, but rather it makes clear that such acts are prohibited. One of the reasons for separation listed in the declaration of independence was “For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury”. [3]




"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet devised by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." ~ Thomas Jefferson





1. http://www.archives.gov...


2. http://www.archives.gov...


3. http://www.archives.gov...


CiRrK

Pro

Targeted Killings and Assassinations Framework

Before I analyze the constitutional reasoning behind assassinations, we must first establish the reasoning as to why assassinations would be necessary. Assassinations, in the context of international and domestic jurisprudence, is referring to targeted killings against enemy combatants and terrorists. An example would be the targeted killing of Awlaki in Saudi Arabia. Awlaki was an American citizen who left the United States and joined AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula). Awlaki was a high ranking member of AQAP in charge of propaganda for Al Qaeda and in charge of various terror cells targeting the United States, an example being the Underware Bomber. Thus, my advocacy is that assassinations are constitutional when applied to national security threats such as enemy combatants or terrorists even if they are U.S. citizens.

Con Case

Since my advocacy is applying to enemy combatants and terrorists I will directly respond to my opponent’s argument relating to treason. According to Article 3 Section 3:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

My opponent argues that unless two people testify or one confesses in court assassination attempts are unconstitutional. I’m sure a lot of you have noticed the issue with this argument as I have. Article 3 Section 3 does not preclude the use of assassination (i.e. a targeted killing) against a U.S. national. But rather it establishes side-constraints which must be adhered to in order for those assassinations to be constitutional. For example, search and seizure of one’s property is not unconstitutional simply because provisions are added to ensure a check against police or prosecutorial abuse. The same applies here: assassinations aren’t unconstitutional; they are unconstitutional if the individual is assassinated prior to two witnesses confirming the treasonous act.

In Haupt v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled (amongst other holdings) that federal agents investigating a crime, such as the CIA or NSA, count as witnesses in treason cases. As such, federal agents working in the field are admissible witnesses. Thus, as long as two of our agent’s testify before a court that X U.S.citizen-now terrorist has committed treasonous acts against the United States, then an assassination order is constitutional. [1]

Insofar as I have demonstrated that assassinations are not precluded by Article 3 Section 3, de facto I have given constitutional reasoning granting the validity of assassinations.

My opponent uses the Declaration as an independent warrant for his argument but you can ignore this since the Declaration isn’t a legal weighing mechanism for the Constitution.


Pro Case

C1: The Executive Branch [2]

The means by which an assassination takes place is completely open for debate within foreign policy and constitutional literature, and that is not why we are debating here today. However, my sole contention will argue the Founder’s understanding of the Executive Branch and why that permits the use of assassinations even if it contradicts other provisions in the Constitution.

According to Harvey Mansfield, a Straussian political philosophy professor at Harvard University makes this claim in his essay The Case for the Strong Executive. He makes several claims:

First, the use of the word fortify as referenced by Madison refers to Locke’s understanding of the Executive Branch. Mansfield writes,

“But as the argument proceeds, Locke gradually "fortifies" (to use James Madison's term) the executive. Locke adds other related powers to the subordinate power of executing the laws: the federative power dealing with foreign affairs, which he presents as conceptually distinct from the power of executing laws but naturally allied; the veto, a legislative function; the power to convoke the legislature and to correct its representation should it become corrupt; and above all, the prerogative, defined as ‘the power of doing public good without a rule…The American Constitution signifies that it has fortified the executive by vesting the president with "the executive power," complete and undiluted in Article II, as opposed to the Congress in Article I, which receives only certain delegated and enumerated legislative powers. The president takes an oath "to execute the Office of President"...

Second, the concept of “the executive” was almost always associated with “necessity”. Mansfield continues,

“The test of good government was what was necessary to all government. Necessity was put to the fore. In the first papers of The Federalist, necessity took the form of calling attention to the present crisis in America, caused by the incompetence of the republic established by the Articles of Confederation. The crisis was both foreign and domestic, and it was a crisis because it was urgent...And what must be the character of a government's response to an urgent crisis? Energy. And where do we find energy in the government? In the executive. Actually, The Federalist introduces the need for energy in government considerably before it associates energy with the executive…One should not believe that a strong executive is needed only for quick action in emergencies, though that is the function mentioned first…The case for a strong executive begins from urgent necessity and extends to necessity in the sense of efficacy and even greatness. It is necessary not merely to respond to circumstances but also in a comprehensive way to seek to anticipate and form them. "Necessary to" the survival of a society expands to become "necessary for" the good life there, and indeed we look for signs in the way a government acts in emergencies for what it thinks to be good after the emergency has passed. A free government should show its respect for freedom even when it has to take it away.”

Third, the Founders made a distinction between “natural liberties” and “civil liberties.” Mansfield elucidates,

“...opinion assumes that civil liberties have the status of natural liberties, and are inalienable. This means that the Constitution has the status of what was called in the 17th-century natural public law; it is an order as natural as the state of nature from which it emerges. In this view liberty has just one set of laws and institutions that must be kept inviolate, lest it be lost. But Locke was a wiser liberal. His institutions were "constituted," less by creation than by modification of existing institutions in England, but not deduced as invariable consequences of disorder in the state of nature. He retained the difference, and so did the Americans, between natural liberties, inalienable but insecure, and civil liberties, more secure but changeable. Because civil liberties are subject to circumstances, a free constitution needs an institution responsive to circumstances, an executive able to be strong when necessary.”

Thus, the conclusion of Mansfield is that the oath the President takes: “to uphold the office [implied responsibilities] of the President,” coupled with framers intent shows that the President out of urgency and necessity can use his or authority even if it must suspend parts of the Constitution. National security, being an extension of the enforcement arm of the office of the President, would naturally fall under the Founder’s understanding of necessity and urgency since, as argued by both Hamilton and Madison, threatens the security of the free state. As such, assassinations, in times of national security threats, can be constitutionally valid.

[1] http://supreme.justia.com...

[2] http://www.claremont.org...

Debate Round No. 2
DanT

Con

First off I would like to apologize for double posting my round 1 argument. It was an error that occurred when the argument from word to DDO; some how it double pasted. I placed the work cited page separately because word kept turning it into bullet points.

Targeted Killings and Assassinations Framework

Pro claims that US citizens deemed a terrorist can be assassinated, without due process. As an example he uses Awlaki, a US citizen who acted as a recruiter for Al Qaeda. Awlaki was not given a trial, nor was he neither presented nor indicted by a Grand Jury. Alwlaki was blown up by an unmanned drone while he was eating his breakfast. Imagine if due to your political affiliation you were deemed a terrorist by the executive branch; 2 CIA agents could by Pro’s reasoning send a drone to kill you on your way to church. No Grand Jury, no defense attorney, no chance to surrender; you just get marked for death by the President. I’m sorry, but that is in no way constitutional. The Executive branch does not have the power to sentence someone to death.

Con Case

Pro’s rebuttal

Pro attempts to rebut my case by claiming the 2 witnesses needed to convict someone of treason, as required in Article 3 Section 3, could be federal agents. The problem with this rebuttal is that the 2 witnesses are required to convict someone of treason, not to punish them for treason.

Pro completely dropped my 5th amendment argument, which states that a Grand Jury is required to provide an indictment or presentment before someone could be brought to answer for capital or infamous crimes; such as treason. The 5th amendment also states that one cannot be deprived of liberty without due process of law; meaning that one must be trialed.

According to the 6th amendment to the constitution, in the bill of rights, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” [1]

One cannot simply ask a judge to approve assassination; one must hold a public trial for the traitor. In addition to this, the traitor must be given counsel to defend them against the charges.

Remember the definition for assassination given in round 1; an assassination is a murder of a public figure by surprise attack. Assassination is much different from an execution; with an execution the criminal knows he is about to die, and he has been sentenced to die. The executive branch does not have the right to sentence someone to death. A cop cannot murder a suspect by surprise attack; they can only shoot in defense. Likewise a traitor cannot be shot in the back while eating breakfast; they can only be shot if they resist arrest, and pose a threat to those who are trying to apprehend them.

If a US citizen was holding someone at gun point, or they opened fire on the officials trying to apprehend them, than a sniper or drone could take them out. If they were eating breakfast, or walking their dog, than they cannot be legally killed.

Pro also claims that the declaration for independence is not a legal document, however it was ratified by the United States in Congress Assembled. It does not grant us any rights, but rather declares us independent from the British Empire; the only reason I brought it up was that it is relevant to understanding the ideas within constitution.

I would also like to point out that using the Supreme Court as an argument is invalid; the supreme court can only be used as source not an argument.

Pro Case

C1: The Executive Branch

First

Pro claims that the executive branch wields unlimited power, to do whatever they want. This directly contradicts the constitution. In Article 1 Section 8 the constitution states, “[The Congress shall have Power] To make Rules for the Government…”; this is why legislative powers are so narrowly defined, yet judicial and executive powers are so loosely defined. [2] It is up to congress to create rules limiting the authority of the government. One example of this clause would be the ethics laws passed by congress that all politicians must abide by. President Andrew Johnson was impeached for violating "An act regulating the tenure of certain civil office," which was passed by congress in 1867. [3]

Second

Pro claims that only legally binding documents are relevant to the debate, yet he uses the federalist papers as an argument. The federalist papers were not legal documents; they were articles printed as propaganda in order to promote ratification of the constitution. It’s nothing more than political commentary by federalists. Not only this, but instead of quoting the federalist papers, he is quoting someone else’s interpretation of the federalist papers.

This second argument is nothing more than an appeal to authority.

Third

I think pro was confusing “liberties” with “rights”. Civil liberties are freedom from unwarranted restraints, and natural liberties are freedom from unnatural restraints. [4] If someone was convicted and imprisoned by the state, it would violate their natural liberties but not their civil liberties.

If someone is assassinated it does not violate their right to liberty, it violates their right to life; thus it’s not their natural liberties that are violated, it’s their natural rights. A natural right is a natural entitlement to man, whereas a civil right is a legal entitlement to citizens. [5] An assassination of US citizens violates both natural and civil rights.

C2: The Constitution

Pro has yet to mention where in the constitution, the government was granted the authority to assassinate its own citizens. Pro simply appeals to the authority of other people’s interpretations without citing the constitution.

1. http://www.archives.gov...

2. http://www.archives.gov...

3. http://www.historyplace.com...

4. http://thepeoplesguidetotheusconstitution.com...

5. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

CiRrK

Pro

Targeted Killings and Assassinations Framework

My opponent tries to argue against the framework without arguing against the framework. He simply applies his contentional arguments to the framework. But he seems to miss the point of the framework: that assassinations are used against a specific class of people.


Con Case

Pro’s rebuttal

My opponent first argues that there is a difference between convicting and sentencing. This argument doesn’t make an impact on the round because sentencing will always be done by judges in a treason trial. As long as there are two witnesses that can testify to a judge that a certain individual is guilty of treason then execution is not precluded.

Pro completely dropped my 5th amendment argument, which states that a Grand Jury is required to provide an indictment or presentment before someone could be brought to answer for capital or infamous crimes; such as treason. The 5th amendment also states that one cannot be deprived of liberty without due process of law; meaning that one must be trialed.

My opponent’s second argument is that I dropped his 5th Amendment analysis. As mentioned in my last round I am using the analysis of treason which is a specifically detached crime from the 5th Amendment. Whereas other capital crimes such as murder would be included in the analysis of the 5th Amendment, treason is intentionally and conditionally different from the other capital crimes.

There are due process limitations on treason charges:

The first is that conviction only needs two people. If the government wishes to go through a whole trial as indicated by the requirement for a grand jury and other due process requirements it can. The government can easily present evidence in a court to go directly to trial and then have 2 witnesses testify against a military combatant. My opponent mentions the due process rights afforded by the 6th Amendment, but my opponent makes the mistake of lumping treason with all other offenses.

The second is that Article 3 Section 3 paragraph 2 allows for Congressional attainder.

Treason against the United States...

The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.”

Now what is attainder? This is a legal term that has lost colloquially meaning since it is negligibly used. Attainder refers to, under common law, the ability of Congress to bypass the judiciary and due process rights and convict and then sentence an individual. Whereas attainder has been struck down in all cases under the 8th Amendment, attainder is allowed in one case: treason. As such, assassination would be constitutional not only from a court order on the basis of two witnesses but also on an attainder vote by Congress.

The only conditions on this attainder vote are that Congress cannot convict people related to the offender and the government cannot confiscate the property of the offender.

Thus, these two exceptions to due process bypass the regulations of the 5th and 6th Amendments.

My opponent argues that assassination does not equate to execution. The definition my opponent provides is that a public official is killed by a surprise attack, implying a targeted killing such as the killing of Alwaki. As such, all the methods of conviction would still apply to this definition. Since the target would by extension be a fugitive from justice if the courts order an execution of the criminal, it would still be a surprise attack. Also the attainder vote would grant permission to the Executive branch to carry out a surprise attack against the convict.

Ny opponent’s final argument is that the Supreme Court isn’t a valid argument. The issue with this claim is that it wasn’t an independent justification or argument, but rather was an explication on the conditions of the word witness in Article 3. Regardless though my opponent has not contested the substance of the Supreme Court Ruling.


Pro Case

C1: The Executive Branch

First

My opponent claims that the first argument of Mansfield gives unlimited power to the executive branch. This is completely untrue. All Mansfield is claiming is that Madison, who is the author of the Constitution, delineated certain responsibilities to Congress but gave the executive branch “executive power” which in the Lockean sense and the Federalist Papers refers to expanded powers dealing with the office of the president. But the main point made by Mansfield which is the substance of the explanation comes in his 2nd argument.

Second

My opponent makes the argument that the Federalist Papers aren’t legally binding, like what I said about the Declaration. However he misses the reasoning behind using the Federalist Papers, specifically that of Madison. To correctly interpret what the Constitution means there needs to be a reference for us to evaluate what the Founder’s meant when they used certain words. Like for instance, many interpret the 2nd Amendment as only referring to state militias, but as evidenced by arguments and use of words in the Federalist Papers militia was referring to the whole populous as a bloc to tyranny of foreign invasion. The reason we know this is because we can reference the context of the specific words used in the Constitution and reference them elsewhere by works of the founders. The same applies here. Mansfield makes the argument that the Federalist Paper’s when referring to words such as executive and “to execute the office of the President” references the authority of the executive as a leader of the Republic which can respond to times of urgency and necessity whereas other branches might be functionally paralyzed by crises. When the President makes the oath to execute the office of the President, Mansfield explains to us that the wording of the oath as dictated by the Constitution tells us a lot about the implied emergency powers of the Executive Branch. The oath does not simply limit the President in following the dictum of congress but rather holds the president to the office, i.e. the responsibilities which come as the executive, chief enforcer and protector of the United States.

Third

My opponent argues that the distinction I made is incorrect. Well, in terms of the words rights and liberties, Mansfield was using the words of Locke who in his writings frequently used liberties and not rights. The main argument here is that the Founders working within the framework of Locke had to constitute the rights, and take them out of the state of nature and into a civil society. As such, rights are granted to the people but can be taken away or changed depending on the circumstances. Thus, within the framework of Locke there must be a branch of government which can mold itself to differing circumstances and not be constrained within an unchangeable framework. As indicated above, the executive branch fits this description since it is the branch which, according to Madison and Hamilton, has the energy needed to respond immediately to varying and urgent crises.

What does all this mean? It essentially means that within the Lockean framework and the framework of the Founders the Executive Branch must change in order to respond to crises that threaten the security of the free state. This is what the office of the President means: to protect the existence of the state from both domestic and international threats. In order to achieve this goal, if the Executive Branch must limit due process protections then it has the authority to do so.

My opponent ends his argument with the fact that I haven’t mentioned the Constitution. In contrast to this claim, my argument is explicating about the authority granted to the Executive via the Constitution. Actually I would think my argument gives a much more detailed

Debate Round No. 3
DanT

Con


Con Case


Pro’s rebuttal


I did not say there was a difference between convicting and sentencing; even though there is. I said there is a difference between executing a convicted criminal and assassinating a suspect who has yet to be convicted. I also stated that there is a difference between execution and assassination. A citizen must be trialed by jury, and citizens have a right to not only hear the charges against them, but defend against those charges.


Treason is not exempt from the 5th amendment; until someone is convicted of a crime, they maintain their 5th amendment rights. If 2 FBI agents don’t like your Facebook status, do they have a right to declare you a traitor and shoot you on your way to work? No trial by peers, no indictment; just a warrant granted by a judge based on their word alone. Sorry but that’s not how it works. Nowhere in the constitution does it create an exception for suspected traitors. Treason is a high crime, and as such the 5th amendment applies. The only people exempt from the 5th amendment rights are our own armed forced, and only during time of war. When someone enlists they willingly give up certain rights, and that is this is one right they forfeit. Simply being a suspected traitor does not warrant the government to infringe your 5th amendment right.


The 6th amendment deals with all criminal offenses; my opponent claims that I am lumping treason in with other offenses, however it is not I who is lumping treason in with other offenses it was the authors of the 6th amendment. If my opponent is willing to argue that treason is not a criminal offense, than he may have a case for ignoring the 6th amendment; although it would be a weak argument, seeing as treason is a crime.


Pro claims that article 3 section 3 grants congress the right to pass bills of attainder, in regards to treason. This is not the case, as in Article 1 Section 10 the constitution clearly states, “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” [1] Pro also seems to think Bills of Attainder can be applied to individuals, when actuality it applies to groups of people; such as families, political parties, or religious organizations. [2]


Article 3 Section 3 was just reiterating Article 1 Section 10, by stating, “no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood”. This clause is not a power grant, it’s a prohibition.


Pro also claims that the 8th amendment allows for bills of attainder in regards to treason; it says nothing of the short. The 8th amendment reads, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” [3] This lacks any reference to treason, or bills of attainder. The 8th amendment could actually be used against assassination as a criminal punishment, as one could argue that it is cruel and unusual to premeditatively kill someone without their knowing.


If one fails to show up for his court hearing, he is charged with contempt of court, and a warrant is placed for his arrest. If someone has already arrested, but later escaped; then he would be charged with escaping from prison. The state does not have a right assassinate a fugitive; the state has the right to recapture a fugitive. If that fugitive puts up a fight, the government officials trying to capture him may kill him on the scene, but not without provocation.


As for Pro’s repetitive use of Alwaki as an example; Alwaki was never convicted of treason, he was only suspected of treason. If he was convicted of treason he would have never been assassinated.



I did not contest the substance of the Supreme Court ruling, because the Supreme Court ruling is the source, not the argument. I only have to contest your argument associated with it. I feel the Supreme Court ruling is a loop hole, as agents are not witnesses to the crime unless they were present when the crime was committed. They may be witnesses to the investigation, and may be used to vouch for the integrity of the investigation; however they are not “Witnesses to the same overt Act”. Once again, the Supreme Court can only be used as a source, not an argument, so my feelings in regards to the ruling are irrelevant.




Pro Case


C1: The Executive Branch


First


Pro dropped my argument regarding the congressional power to further define the limitations of the Executive branch. His only rebuttal is that Mansfield was making a claim in regards to Madison’s claim; this issue with this is that my opponent is trying to prove a stance of Madison, not by quoting Madison but by quoting someone’s interpretation of Madison’s quote. It reminds me of a game called telephone, which I use to play as a kid. The more people who repeat and interpret the original quote, the more likely the quote and its message would be distorted; in fact, the telephone game gives empirical evidence for how easily it can be distorted.


Second


Pro claims that Mansfield did not argue the President had unlimited power, yet he states that Mansfield argued that the “The oath does not simply limit the President in following the dictum of congress” This is contradictory; either the president does not have unlimited power, or the president is not limited to rule of law. You can’t claim both to be true.



Third


Once again pro claims that Mansfield was consisted with his sources simply because he cited them. Locke did not confuse liberty with rights, Locke claimed that man has a right to life, liberty, and property; this is known as Locke’s trinity. If Locke used the word “liberty” to refer to rights, than Locke’s trinity would argue we have a right to rights, which makes no sense. Liberty is a right, but not all rights are liberties. Liberty is simply a fancy way of saying freedom; we have a right to life, freedom, and property. Locke also believed that governments were instituted amongst men in order to protect the natural rights of the community. This idea was echoed by Jefferson in the declaration of independence.[4]



Pro claims that there needs to be a Branch of Government to distinguish between civil rights and natural rights, and that that branch is the executive. Pro fails to realize that the Legislative Branch has the power to distinguish between natural rights and civil rights, through legislation. Natural Rights are enforced by government when overlapped with Civil Rights; the legislature passes Civil Rights legislation.


C2: The Constitution


Pro says that he does not need to mention the constitution to prove the executive branch has certain powers, but rather that he only needs elaborate on the implied authority of the President. The issue with this argument is that the President has no implied authority; his authority is limited to the constitution, and legislation passed by congress.


Closing statement


The constitution makes clear that no citizen may be deprived of life, without due process. Due process for treason consists of presentment or indictment by a Grand Jury, a speedy public trial with an impartial jury of his peers, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusations against him, to confront the witnesses making those accusations, to have a legal process for obtaining those witnesses, and to have a lawyer defend him against the charges; one cannot be convicted of treason without at-least 2 witnesses to the crime, or without a confession in court. Congress is prohibited from passing bills of attainder, and a suspected traitor cannot constitutionally be deprived of life, until he stands trial, unless he gives adequate provocation during the attempt to arrest him. The constitution clearly states that the president and the courts are limited to the laws passed by congress as well as the Constitutional restrictions.



1. http://www.archives.gov...


2. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...


3. http://www.archives.gov...


4. http://www.archives.gov...


CiRrK

Pro

Voters


1) Attainder

My opponent completely misunderstands Article 3 Section 3 paragraph 2. He argues that this provision prevents Congress from using attainder against a target. He points to the line which states “…but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.”

However, he never mentions the first part of the paragraph:

“The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason…”

What my opponent misses in his analysis is that granting congress the power to declare punishment of Treason is attainder. The “but…shall work” conditions this right of attainder by conditioning the extent of the attainder. The conditions tell us that the Congress has the right to determine the punishment for treason, but cannot extend the punishment to include relatives/progeny and seizure of property.

My opponent argues that attainder is for groups and not individuals, but this is completely incorrect. Using his source #2: The clause thus prohibits…'no matter what their form, that apply either to named individuals or to easily ascertainable members of a group in such a way as to inflict punishment on them without a judicial trial. . . .”

Thus, this is a clear reason to vote Pro because Congress is legitimately given power of attainder in treason cases. As aptly mentioned by my opponent Article 1 prohibits attainder but Article 3 qualifies this in cases of treason.

My opponent argues throughout the entire debate that the 5th and 6th Amendments are absolute. I will respond to this under my Executive Branch analysis.

2) Executive Branch

First

My opponent’s main argument against this is that I dropped the analysis that Congress makes rules regulating the Executive Branch. This is a funny argument which isn’t dropped because it was already precluded by my Mansfield evidence.

Ill refer to the preclusion: “The American Constitution signifies that it has fortified the executive by vesting the president with "the executive power," complete and undiluted in Article II, as opposed to the Congress in Article I, which receives only certain delegated and enumerated legislative powers.”

The preclusion is that without direct intervention from the Congress, Article 2 leaves the power of the president bound by the duties of his office. My opponent would be correct if (strong emphasis on if) Congress struck down the ability of the President in certain circumstances. In this particular case, there is no law which prohibits the use of targeted killings against national security threats. Otherwise, as indicated by Mansfield, the Constitution does not explicitly restrict the powers of the President like it does congress.

My opponent tries to make an argument that using secondary sources is like playing telephone. The problem with this however is that Mansfield analyzes both the words and context of the words which is possible through written word, as opposed to oral word. If you passed a piece of paper around and told people to simply rewrite the sentence on the paper there will be little to no confusion.


Second

Pro claims that Mansfield did not argue the President had unlimited power, yet he states that Mansfield argued that the “The oath does not simply limit the President in following the dictum of congress” This is contradictory; either the president does not have unlimited power, or the president is not limited to rule of law. You can’t claim both to be true.

The second point however is the most important, though my opponent spends the least amount of time on it. His argument is that my claim that the President does not have unlimited powers contradicts what I said about the presidents oath and Congress. First, this is false because as indicated by Mansfield, the President gains the “executive power” as explained by Madison in times of “urgency and necessity.” This constricts the powers of the president in times of normalcy. But secondly, the oath the president takes is the Constitution’s guarantee that the President follows the demands and responsibilities of his office even though the Constitution does directly put dictums on the President. This is why I referred to the powers as implied powers.

Why is this a voter?

This is a voter because the words of the Constitution, the oath the President takes, and an analysis of the context of those words using Madison’s Federalist Papers give us the clear indication that in times of urgency the Executive Branch must be flexible and circumstantial in its abilities to fight any domestic and international threat to the free state. As mentioned before, we know the meaning of the 2nd Amendment by analyzing the words used and figuring out their meaning via other texts of Madison, i.e. the Federalist Papers. The same holds true in this case. To have a clear understanding of the Constitution we must look to the words and the meaning of those words at the time of the founding. This is where my opponent and I differ in analysis. My opponent tries to use his own interpretation of the Constitution which binds him in presentism.

Thus, we can conclude that, unless directly prevented by the Congress, the Executive Branch can utilize its implied powers to protect the free state. As such, targeted killings are permissible via the Constitution.

Third

My opponent misunderstands what Mansfield was writing about. Locke used the words rights and liberties interchangeably. Yes, liberty is a natural right according to Locke, but when Locke says natural liberties he is referring to negative rights – right to liberty essentially umbrellas all the other rights or liberties. However this is just English semantics. The important point my opponent misses is that the rights given by the bill of Rights, such as the 5th and 6th Amendments are not inalienable. It is a common misconception that since rights have been constituted then they have the same status as natural rights. This argument directly refutes my opponents analysis of the 5th and 6th Amendments. If the President, in a time of urgency and necessity, deems it necessary that, in order for the security of the free state, an individual must not be granted those rights it is in his or her power to do so.

I urge the readers to go back to the first round and reread the analysis of Mansfield, since after three rounds the details have probably been muddled.

I thank my opponent for having a great debate! :D

Debate Round No. 4
37 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DanT 4 years ago
DanT
Again, I'm not saying we can't kill him, just that we can't assassinate him.

Oxford dictionary defines assassination as "the premeditated killing of one human being (an important person) by another, without rule of law, in a surprise attack for political or religious reasons."
Posted by DanT 4 years ago
DanT
The killing of Osama Bin Laden was a battle, not an assassination. He was targeted, but it was not a drone that took him out, but rather a seal team. The war on terror is more than a series of targeted drone attacks. To claim such a thing is disrespectful to the men on the ground.

Look at all the detainees in Gitmo; they were not caught by drones, they were caught by men on the ground fighting battles. It's through interrogating them that we obtained the location of Osama.

War is not won by who has the highest body count, but rather who achieves their objectives. If this was was simply drone attacks, the people we kill would be replaced, and the terrorist organizations would continue to operate. We killed Osama, and all that did was create new leaders in his place.
The objective of the war is to eliminate the terrorist organization by destroying their influence, and their ability to operate.

We are winning the war, not because Osama is dead, but because al-qaeda is in financial trouble, and has been before Osama's death. records obtained at the compound where Osama was killed indicates that al-qaeda is running into financial problems.

Killing anwar al awlaki just lead to his replacement; there was no major victory in it, other than a boost to morale. Better the enemy you know, than the one you don't.

The way we defeat Al-Qaeda is by reducing their support by Islamic states, and destroying their ability to continue fighting. The fact that they are international terrorist makes this all the more harder.
Posted by I_am_John_Galt 4 years ago
I_am_John_Galt
For the most part, these are the same standards of conduct of war by which Washington and the Continental Army fought the Revolution. These are the same standards upon which the Geneva Conventions are based. These were considered common law at the time of the founding fathers and the adoption of the Constitution. Killing someone, regardless of their citizenship, who is part of the enemy's ability to make war is not the same as a bill of attainder.

Did we kill Awlaki because we deemed him a traitor? No. We killed him because he was an integral part of the enemy's ability to make war against us. If he had not been part of the enemy's war machine, he would not have been targeted for elimination, but still a traitor.
Posted by I_am_John_Galt 4 years ago
I_am_John_Galt
In a war such as the "War on Terrorism", where battles are carried out by use of targeted killings and terrorist attacks, how would you determine when "combat" is occurring? Only in the split second it takes a bomber to detonate his device? Or, as seems more in-line with reality, combat in such a war is generally perpetual?
Posted by DanT 4 years ago
DanT
This is why we have the right to do process, and congress is forbidden to pass bills of attainder.
http://www.dailymotion.com...

During the revolution, innocents were killed without trial; hung, shot, or burned alive in their homes. The reason for this brutality was that they were relatives of revolutionaries, or they were giving aid or comfort to the revolutionaries. This made them traitors. The founders wanted to prevent history from repeating it's-self, so they made sure that traitors had the right to due process, and that family could not be made traitors by extension via bills of attainder.
Posted by I_am_John_Galt 4 years ago
I_am_John_Galt
OMFG...Are you that f'ing naive? Being a traitor is not necessarily the same as being a part of the enemy's ability to make war. If a traitor were to cross the battle lines, deliver vital intelligence to the enemy and then proceed to the enemy's rear, no longer engaging in any effort to aid the enemy then he can no longer be considered part of the enemy's war machine. Yet, he is still a traitor. As such, he may be apprehended and brought to trial, but because he is not part of the enemy's war effort, he cannot be targeted for assassination by defense and security forces. The key is whether the target was still aiding the enemy at the time of the assassination. Do you see the difference? If there is no reason to believe he is engaged in actively helping the enemy, he is not part of the enemy's war effort, is not considered a combatant or legitimate target and cannot be killed.
Posted by DanT 4 years ago
DanT
"In combat, citizenship is irrelevant."
In combat as in a battle, yes I would agree, because in combat both sides are actively try to kill each other. However, during times of war, citizenship is still very much relevant; enemy combatants who are US citizens are by definition traitors, and retain rights of the US citizen. Suspected traitors can't be targeted for assassination, until after they have been proven guilty in a court of law.
" You're seem to be applying, civilian law and standards during peacetime to internationally accepted laws and standards of warfare during wartime."
The US constitution trumps international law, in regards to the actions of the US government. The US constitution only allows for the suspension of the writ of habeus corpus, during times of war or rebellion, but it does not grant the government the power to suspend due process of law. We are a republic, and our government is subject to rule of law.
Posted by DanT 4 years ago
DanT
"He is being targeted because he has been identified as part of the enemy's war machine "

OMFG, are you that dense. That is the constitutional definition of a traitor!!!!
Posted by I_am_John_Galt 4 years ago
I_am_John_Galt
He isn't being targeted because he's a traitor or a suspected traitor. He is being targeted because he has been identified as part of the enemy's war machine and is not inside US borders. That war machine poses a threat to national security interests and can be legally dismantled accordingly by the organs of national defense and security. Assassination, as a legitimate military tactic, is a form of combat. In combat, citizenship is irrelevant. You're seem to be applying, civilian law and standards during peacetime to internationally accepted laws and standards of warfare during wartime. That is as incompatible as attempting to engage the same exercise in reverse.
Posted by DanT 4 years ago
DanT
These restrictions are in place to safe guard the rights of the innocent. They may be unconvenient at times, but they do exist and they should be upheld.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by ceruleanpolymer 4 years ago
ceruleanpolymer
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Reasons for voting decision: I completely disagree with Pro but Con did not respond sufficiently to his Executive Power argument. Con focused on attacking the method more than attacking the substance. Since Pro showed that through analysis of Executive Power the founders intentionally left the power open ended to protect against crises then if the executive wishes to assassinate a threat it is valid to do so. Conduct goes Con because of supreme court rule violation.
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro shows that congress can gain an attainder and be rid of due process, he shows further that the only need to convict is two witnesses--and military agents fall under this category. This is sufficient reason to affirm the resolution without an analysis of the other arguments made. Sorry for a short RFD.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter-VB Chelicerae. I will come back tonight to vote for real. Looks like a great debate!
Vote Placed by Chelicerae 4 years ago
Chelicerae
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Reasons for voting decision: -Vote-