Intelligence Squared debate: The president has constitutional power to target and kill U.S. citizens abroad

Intelligence Squared presented one of its best debates Wednesday night at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia — “Resolved: The President has constitutional power to target and kill U.S. citizens abroad.”

Arguing for the motion were Alan Dershowitz, professor of law, Harvard Law School; and Michael Lewis, professor of law, Ohio Northern University School of Law.  Arguing against the motion were Noah Feldman, professor of law, Harvard Law School; and Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project.  All four debaters were superb.

Intelligence Squared generally presents policy debates; this was the first that was framed as a pure constitutional question.  It was also the first to take place in Philadelphia, on Independence Mall – hallowed ground for constitutional debate, as Noah Feldman pointed out.  And this debate happened to be particularly timely: President Obama is apparently considering targeting and killing another U.S. citizen right now.

Details, results, and video, of the Intelligence Squared debate are available here.

Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz is a Professor of Law at Georgetown, a Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, and an occasional Broadway producer.

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