Senator Rand Paul Filibusters the Patriot Act

 

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) stood tall on Wednesday afternoon and evening to speak out against certain provisions in the Patriot Act. In particular he spoke passionately against the NSA’s illegal surveillance of innocent American citizens. A handful of Democrats and a few Republicans joined Senator Paul in his efforts to derail the Patriot Act vote.

There comes a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer. That time is now, and I will not let the Patriot Act, the most unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged.


 

 

There comes a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer. That time is now, and I will not let the Patriot Act, the most unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged.

At the very least we should debate, we should debate whether or not we are going to relinquish our rights or whether or not we are going to have a full and able debate over whether or not we can live within the constitution or whether or not we have to go around the constitution.

The bulk collection of all Americans’ phone records all of the time is a direct violation of the fourth amendment. The second appeals court has ruled it legal. The president began this program by executive order. He should immediately end it through executive order.

For over a year now, he has said the program is illegal and yet he does nothing. He says, well, congress can get rid of the patriot act. Congress can get rid of the bulk collection and yet he has the power to do it at his fingertips. He began this illegal program.

The court has informed him that the program is illegal. He has every power to stop it and yet the president does nothing. Justice Brandeis wrote that the right to be left alone is the most cherished of rights, most prized among civilized men. The Fourth Amendment incorporates this right to privacy.

 

 

Most people have no idea that the government’s position, and currently maybe the Supreme Court’s position, is that you don’t have any right, any Fourth Amendment right, in your records, unless you’ve actually got them in your house. 

And I think this is something that the more people understand it and the more people are drawn to this issue, maybe people will demand that we have some justice here.

We live in an era where ultimately no one is going to have paper records in their house. All of your records are going to be electronic. And because they’re held and they’re managed somehow by a third party, does that really mean we’ve given up our rights?

Let’s say tomorrow that there was a president, that we elected a president that eliminated the bulk collection of data. Let’s just say it happened. What do you think would happen? People are like, oh the sky would fall. We would be overrun with jihadists.

Maybe we could rely on the constitution. Maybe we could get warrants. 

The information is out there. There are warrants. If you make the warrant specific, there’s no limit to what you can’t get through a warrant. The warrants are given the vast majority of the time.

People complain and say it would take too long, it would be inconvenient.

Make it better then. Put your judges on 24 hours a day. Appoint 24 or more judges and put them on call all the time and let’s do this.

rand paulThere’s no reason why you can’t have security and liberty at the same time. 

Another amendment we have, should the leadership agree to allow us to have amendments, and to have votes and to have a debate on this, is an amendment that would require the court to approve national security letters.

In a three-year period between 2003 and 2006, 140,000 national security letters were given out.

So national security letters are warrants that are below the constitutional bar. They don’t meet the constitutional bar because they’re not being signed by a judge. They’re being signed by the police.

You get rid of one of the great protections we had, which was the check & balance that the police would always go to the judiciary. It was a different branch. The judge is sitting at home reasonable, hopefully in a reasonable fashion. The judge isn’t in hot pursuit. The judge isn’t letting their emotions, the judge wasn’t just punched by one of the convicts. The judge is sitting home in a reasoned fashion trying to make a reasonable decision.

But still the vast majority of time warrants are given. If there is a policeman outside the house of an alleged rapist and they want to go in, they call on a cell phone. The judge almost always says yes. The same for murder.

Does anybody imagine that there would be a judge in our country that you call them and you say, John Doe, we have evidence that he traveled to Yemen last year. We have evidence that he talked to Joe Smith who we have evidence is a terrorist and we want a warrant to tap his phone.

Look, I’m the biggest privacy activist in the world, I’ll sign the warrant immediately. I don’t know anybody who isn’t going to sign warrants to allow searches to occur. You have the check and balance so it doesn’t get out of control...

Lord Acton said ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ The corollary to that would be that power grows, and grows exponentially when you’re not watching. And they will do whatever they can get away with.

They will do it in the name of patriotism. Actually, I don’t even question their motives. They believed themselves to be patriotic but they think we have to do everything that it takes no matter whether it contravenes the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.