Former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal writes in today’s NYT in favor of an executive branch court to oversee the use of drones to combat terrorism. His op-ed begins:
In the wake of revelations about the Obama administration’s drone program, politicians from both parties have taken up the idea of creating a “drone court” within the federal judiciary, which would review executive decisions to target and kill individuals.
But the drone court idea is a mistake. It is hard to think of something less suitable for a federal judge to rule on than the fast-moving and protean nature of targeting decisions.
Fortunately, a better solution exists: a “national security court” housed within the executive branch itself. Experts, not generalists, would rule; pressing concerns about classified information would be minimized; and speedy decisions would be easier to reach.
Katyal raises some reasonable concerns about subjecting oversight of drone strikes to the judiciary, and suggests this may be a viable way to enhance oversight of drone strikes without unduly compromising the military and intelligence communities’ ability to use drones when warranted.
[I’m sure there’s additional commentary on the Lawfare blog, but I can’t link to any because it appears to be down at the moment.]