Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta

35 F. Supp. 3d 56, 2014 WL 1352452, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46689 (2014)

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Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta

United States District Court for the District of Columbia
35 F. Supp. 3d 56, 2014 WL 1352452, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46689 (2014)

Facts

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force. Thereafter, as directed by the president of the United States, certain high-level government and military officials, including the secretary of defense, military commanders, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency (together, the military directors) (defendants) placed Anwar Al-Aulaqi on a “kill” list. Anwar was a dual citizen of the United States and Yemen and a leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Anwar had claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist acts, had actively encouraged others to wage war against the United States, and had orchestrated an attempted attack against the United States in 2009. In 2011, United States forces killed Anwar in a military drone operation in Yemen. American citizen Samir Khan was riding in the same vehicle as Anwar and was also killed. Later, while a United States drone was targeting someone else in Yemen, Anwar’s teenage son Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi, an American citizen, was killed. Khan and Abdulrahman had not been targeted by the United States but were killed as bystanders. The federal government never publicly prosecuted Anwar for any crime. The families of Anwar, Abdulrahman, and Khan (collectively, the families) (plaintiffs) sued the military directors and sought to hold them personally liable for violating the deceased individuals’ constitutional rights.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Collyer, J.)

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