The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways – KJH and OLC Edition?
Was our very own Kevin Jon Heller, and one of his OJ posts, responsible for causing David Barron and Marty Lederman (widely taken as authors of the Justice Department’s OLC opinion on the lawfulness of targeting Anwar Al-Awlaki with lethal force) to rewrite their memorandum? Wells Bennett at Lawfare points to an extraordinary passage appearing in a lengthy story in today’s New York Times on targeting Awlaki, by Scott Shane, Mark Mazzetti, and Charlie Savage. Notes Wells:
[T]he article says that OLC’s legal workup was influenced by “a legal blog that focused on a statute that bars Americans from killing other Americans overseas.” It is unclear to what legal blog the authors refer (and hard to know for sure what affected OLC’s thinking)—but the timing and content suggest this Opinio Juris post by Kevin Jon Heller.
Congratulations to Kevin for having re-shaped the contours of US government thinking, if that’s true. I’m not sure whether Kevin would regard this as the Lord Works In Mysterious Ways, or instead the Devil Quoting Scripture for His Own Purposes, but in any case, congratulations. (And thanks to Peter Margulies for telling me about this; I haven’t been on blogs all day, because the day in DC has been beautiful, and I Have A Life, not to mention a chapter owed to Ben Wittes.)