The Yale Law Journal

December 2012

Targeting the Twenty-First-Century Outlaw

Jane Y. Chong

122 Yale L.J. 724 (2012).

This Note proposes using outlawry proceedings to bring legitimacy to the government’s targeted killing regime. Far from clearly contrary to the letter and spirit of American due process, outlawry endured for centuries at English common law and was used to sanction lethal force against fugitive felons in the United States until as recently as 1975. Because it was the outlaw’s refusal to submit to the legal process that warranted the use of lethal force against him, the choice of process was necessarily preserved through basic protections such as charges and notice. This Note argues that these principles can be updated for the twenty-first century and used to subject the government’s targeted killing of U.S. citizens to limited judicial review.