Here’s something you don’t see every day:
Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy, a former Justice Department attorney and staunch Democrat, probing George W. Bush’s former U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales on the legal justification for drone attacks and on whether the president has the power to unilaterally declare an American an enemy combatant.
That’s what happened during a morning presentation today at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Gonzales was less emphatic on whether the president has that power than he was in saying, once the president has declared someone an enemy combatant, he has no qualms about the president pressing a button, so to speak, to send out a drone.
In Gonzales’ words, “I’ve got no problem with the president taking you out.”
Regarding whether the president can on his own declare an American to be an enemy combatant, Gonzales said as long as there is a process set up to make that determination, then the president would seem to be on good legal ground.
I’ll be writing more in the print edition of the paper about Gonzales’ broader presentation, which included some encouragement to the students to take big risks and not settle as they pursue their careers.