Friday June 15, 2012, happened to be the 797th anniversary of the day certain feudal barons in England confronted King John and asked him to guarantee a “charter of liberties” which eventually became the Magna Carta. So it was an appropriate day in June 2012: Torture Awareness Month, to think about the legal issues that have emerged with Eric Holder’s and other Obama lawyers’ equating of “due process” with the latest CIA and Pentagon “baseball cards kill list”. Passers-by marked the Magna Carta anniversary from 11 am to 1 pm outside the Federal Courthouse in Minneapolis by taking a look at our well-footnoted display of visual panels tracing this once-proud history and contemplating some of the hard legal questions that naturally arise.
The ACLU has brought an active FOIA lawsuit seeking release of the recent Office of Legal Counsel memo that, according to Attorney General Holder, somehow gamely opines that “due process” can be any process that we do. It does not have to be “judicial process” but can instead be a CIA or Pentagon Power-Point as long as it’s carefully and secretly compiled and put on glossy baseball cards. But some of us who didn’t go to Harvard or Yale might question the soundness of this new-fangled targeted killing doctrine that seems to turn the Magna Carta on its head!