Open Letter to Law Review Regarding Obama’s Misuse of Intelligence to Justify War

The President plays prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner in killing American citizens and others with predator drones on his secret say-so alone—a power that mocks both due process and the legal sensibilities of our founders who overthrew the tyranny of King George III. The President usurps the exclusive Congressional authority to initiate war—the most awesome power in the Constitution’s constellation.  The President indiscriminately seizes our electronic communications without probable cause in violation of the “right to be left alone,” a most cherished right among civilized peoples according to Harvard Law School and Supreme Court luminary Louis Brandeis. The President insists on operating under secret law. Yet the Harvard Law Review, the premier intellectual outpost for American legal thought, cannot spare time to examine the greatest ongoing constitutional crisis in the nation’s history!

This is not the time for summer soldiers or sunshine patriots. Our profession needs to defend our Constitutional protections featuring the rule of law and the separation of powers.  We thus find the Review’s complacency with the ongoing vandalizing of the Constitution dismaying, to say the least.  You are passively helping to enable a future Tacitus to write about the ruination of the American Republic:  the worst crimes were dared by a few, willed by more, and tolerated by all.

We request that you share this letter with all members of the Law Review and collectively reconsider our request for a symposium. Foundation funds can be easily secured to fund the Harvard Law Review’s necessary editorial resources to plan and host the symposium. We are forwarding these exchanges to Dean Martha Minow and Dean of Students Ellen Cosgrove in the interest of a broader deliberation.

Bruce Fein, Law ’72, and Ralph Nader, Law ’58, signed this letter to the Harvard Law Review on March 7, 2013. 

The views in opinion editorials, columns, and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of The Harvard Law Record. 

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