Anwar al-Awlaki was an American citizen, with constitutional guarantees of due process of law. Indeed, if our courts were empowered to strip any of us of citizenship, all our “rights” would be merely boons granted at the courts’ pleasure. Unless he walked into a United States courthouse or embassy to renounce his citizenship, American law permits only one scenario in which he would not be entitled to a full trial (whether in person or in absentia).
Our law provides that we can infer that one has renounced American citizenship by “serving in the armed forces of a foreign state if such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States.”
Name that state and show that Mr. Awlaki served in armed forces, and you have a case for denying him a trial. Until then, he’s a murder victim.
Lafayette, Calif., Oct. 12, 2011